Author: Bernd via DL9BS/mm Page 1 of 12
We have 50nm to reach our waypoint set south of Ilet de Cabrits at 1nm distance to the shore. Sunset at that point for today is forecasted 17:43 local time. Our arrival time is a couple of hours after that in darkness. Currents shall be at its peak and some choppy seas can be expected at that turning point. Waves will come down at that point and the impact of the acceleration zone is unknown but shall not become a sudden surprise. Plan for the worst. We hope to get compensated with a picturesque sunset over St. Lucia or Martinique during our approach. Let ‘s see how that works out. Overall it shall be managable.
After some consultation we decided to proceed to the anchorage in front of Sainte Anne, where this passage will be concluded.
I am a big fan of being out at sea during the nights, if the conditions are right. Tonight we got the waxing moon shining over the bow pointing us west, the direction we are heading to. It also leaves a trace of reflection on the water, which provides the path for the lady to follow. Some scattered light exists around it before the darkness takes over the universe and the stars are getting on stage. Within this darkness pooled with the million of stars the clouds become visible, which enables us to see the squalls coming even at night and before they appear on the radar.
The wind is fine tonight, around 20 to 25kn on the stern but the waves have become a bit bumpy again. It could be linked to the current, which is changing from E to W before towards S to N the closer we get to the Leeward Islands. It will impact the wave pattern, I guess. Overall, conditions nothing to complain about as long as the lightning visible very very far away towards SE from us stays away. The moon will settle already at 22:11pm local time and the scenery will change a bit.
Over the next few month there will be less nights at sea but hopefully at nice anchorages instead!
These squalls are fantastic as long as they don’t carry thunder and lightning. We got two of them today and now know, how to handle and make fun out of them. After we identified them, either visually or on the radar, we determine with the help of the radar the magnitude and itensity of the upcoming intermezzo. It takes approximately between fifteen min and one hour until they arrive at the stern of the boat. They move from east to west, are faster than our boat speed and will therefore at one point in time overtake the boat providing the rain and extra wind. Rain and wind gusts depend on the magnitude and intesity of the squall.
We saw the second one today long time before it arrived. I had the shampoo ready but again, did not make it because of the intensity of the squall. With the wind gusting close to 40kn, I preferred to stay close to the steering wheel although the Hydrovane kept the course with a blink. I decided not to reef the 110% foresail (main not unfurled at all) and rather loosen the reins and let the lady fly. She did! 11kn top speed surfing down the waves.
Race or break came to my mind for a fraction of a second but before I got deeper into this brainwave the lady conspiciously indicated to me: Leave it! I did, with the result of great pleasure for both of us surfing the waves again and again unisono with Santiano blasting at full volume out of the cockpit loud speakers. Sailing at its best! After 20 to 30 minutes the spectacle was over.
It is 5:50am local time, Atlantic Standard Time. My shift is over in 10 minutes and I will not miss the sunrise set at 6:11am for today at our location over a cup of tea with Susan. I can already type these lines not using the headlamp to see the keyboard and it becomes clear, that another sunny day has started. A short while ago, there was some distance lightning, first time on our passage, which has now disappeared, so have the clouds normally announcing some potential trouble.
We had a very peaceful & pleasant Christmas here out at sea. It was also impressive. We went through some stronger winds up to 37kn and waves at around 3.5m. The wave pattern was not perfect and still a bit chaotic, or at least wobbling or not structured, but that did not take anything off from the spectacular impressions it left behind. Excellent weather support was provided by Rainer, skipper SY Geronimo, and the “twins” from Intermar e.V., Uwe/DF5AM and Uwe/DD1HUR. A big “Thank you” for preparing us factually and mentally for this lasting impressions mother nature provided to us. It was one of my best sailing days ever.
Weather was also one of the topics during the daily calls with Jan, skipper SY Sutje on the HF Marine Radio. Jan, Petra and Tobi are approximately 150nm behind us as they left Mindelo a day later and also bound for Marina Du Merin on Martinique. We both have a confirmed reservation for a few days to get those things sorted typically required after such a passage besides getting a first impression of Martinique.
Slowly we also prepare our landfall but it is still 250nm to go.
Less than 600nm to go. Sailing downhill always feels faster to me, not sure why.
We finished our Christmas dinner with Dieter and it was delicous. A traditional receipe: Duck – tenderly throughout – with red cabbage and potatoes. There was no room left for desert!
The sunset after pantry cleaning was less impressive today but reminded us on our duties for the night. Susan is resting now while I update some mails and the blog diary.