130 Nautical Miles to go

December 12th 2019

We have been quiet for hours.  At times it’s like this, we are each in our own worlds taking all of this in. I get lost in the beauty and the simplicity, the moments passing quietly into hours. Nothing is simpler or more perfect than this.  At other times we talk endlessly no holds barred, we have bared our souls and killed ourselves laughing over and over again all the while guiding this beautiful little boat slowly and steadily across the Atlantic.  I am savoring every minute, trying to imprint each wave in a place in my brain that I can recall easily.  I will try to remember the quality of the light as it bounces off the swell, the smell of the air, the salt, the colour of the sky and the sound of the hull gracefully moving forward.  I know I will miss all of this when on land.

The end is, figuratively although not yet literally in sight and our current estimate given our speed and the wind and sea conditions is that we will arrive in St Lucia in about 20 hours, approximately 5 am St Lucia time. Tonight is also full moon and my watch partner and I will sail through the evening. The whole trip we have sailed under the moon as it gets progressively bigger and bigger.

It feels so fitting that our last night at sea is under the full moon.

We have been getting reports of the other boats and heard today that one boat we met in Las Palmas has a broken rudder and they are still 500 nm away from St Lucia. It will be a long limp in for them as they try to jury rig a rudder and feel how that steers the boat in these big swells. They may not be enjoying the luxury of deep joy and appreciation at this moment.

The big swells have continued and I am savoring every one of these roly poly giants. It would be unimaginable to experience anything like this during Coastal sailing.  I have grown to feel very at home with these rollers and this constant motion. We are not breaking any records but we are making an easy 7.5 knots in 18 knots of wind and reaching up to 9 knots as we surf down the backs of 5 metre swells. Playing Around has been an absolute star.  She has got us safely so far across this ocean. She is the quiet heroine of this story.

The crew are tired and bruised from being constantly tossed about and being bashed into things. The others are sleeping down below and I am grateful to have this time to soak this all in.

For the whole voyage at night we have operated with no cabin lights on and wear red head lamps to preserve our night vision. It will feel very novel to have lights on after dark. I can do almost anything now without any light and have become accustomed to feeling my way through most things. I know the exact number of steps to get to the head; I can light the stove in the dark and find which clothes I need by the feel of their texture and find my toothbrush and toothpaste in a 60 litre bag. The moon is shedding her light on us so it is all clear, the traveler, the lines around the winches, the sails look magnificent, the helm, the cockpit that we have spent almost three weeks in all bathed in moonlight.

The impending arrival in St Lucia and end of this amazing journey is hard to take in. I am trying to capture the scene and the feelings of being out here on this big ocean so I can conjure it up at another time but I am afraid I may not, nor will my photographs do it justice. I shall have to return but likely to another ocean and I am sure that once on land I will feel the pull back. I look forward to getting back onto my own sailboat and integrating this learning and ease on the water.

We will be on deck most of the night and I wonder if we will first smell the land before we see it. I have heard that you small land long before you see it so I have my nose to the air this evening.  However, given that the wind is almost directly behind us, hitting our hull at 165 degrees I know it is unlikely that we will smell st Lucia before we see her.

The moon is huge, it is earth shatteringly beautiful, this all feels somehow so unreal, its almost too much…..take this in….I wish you were here.

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