November 27, 2012-Night Passage to Prickly Bay
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Anchored in Hog Island Bay, Grenada.
The first night at sea after a period at anchor is the same; the sea always reminds us of what happens if we aren’t exactly ready, if everything isn’t properly stowed, and in general, lets us know it’s still boss. Here we were, the first night out, charging along powered up and driving on a fresh breeze with the wind just ahead of the beam, seeing sevens and eights, waves splashing onto the foredeck, the vane working hard and then there was enough of a side roll to throw some gear loose below deck. I heard it fall then I heard Judy moving around below picking up the items which had gone adrift.
I guess we weren't all that prepared.
We left Man of War Bay at dusk headed for Prickly Bay, Grenada, and by nightfall we were on this fast reach with the full main eased out and the small jib pulling strongly and I was sitting in the cockpit behind the dodger, taking one of my first watches at sea after a while, and honestly, I would have been happier with a little less wind. I just wanted things to be mellow.
Instead I got squalls, the first one rolled through around eight o’clock, darkening the sky, and suddenly the wind was 24.5 knots true. The boat speed shot up.
There was a groan from the winch drum as the turns of the main sheet shifted under the increased force. The boat rolled hard on a big wave and we threatened to round up and then the rig shook as the sail luffed violently.
I bore off and we accelerated and I wondered if the wind was going to continue to increase or if it would moderate? The black cloud overhead didn’t look particularly big but sometimes these things get a life of their own and just keep growing once they get started. I didn’t want the fuss of having to put a reef in, maybe in the midst of a pouring rain and howling breeze. I just wanted it easy but you don’t always get to choose.
Fortunately the squall passed, the wind went back to eighteen, and I came back up to our previous course. I settled down a little. This night would pass.
But now I was keeping a closer watch on the sky; there could be more of these squalls and Ruth and Angus, who just arrived in Man of War Bay earlier today, reported a violent previous night of 45 knot winds and heavy rain.
We didn’t get that; our squalls were moderate and short, and in fact, with the full moon, it was a glorious night of sailing, fast and wet, and with just enough of an edge on to keep us on our toes.
By morning we were easing our way into Prickly Bay.
Click here for a few more photos from Hog Island Bay and Whisper Cove Marina Bar, Grenada
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Hog Island, Grenada
December 8, updated for typo