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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

January 4, 2013-Seventy Miles to St. Lucia

Update: New Photo Link at Bottom

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
St. Lucia.

We sailed out into the St Vincent Channel into a building breeze, the wind hitting the low twenties and the waves had authority. We dropped the traveler down and eased the main sheet and the speed climbed. With the #4 jib just cracked and a full mainsail well out and twisted off the boat charged upwind; the spray was flying. This was a combination which we hadn’t used before in conditions like this and it was working: we were making seven knots and hitting eight at times. Wings reveled in it and I sat on the afterdeck and just enjoyed the day. The other boats out there with us began to fall behind.

This was the sailing we needed to do if we were going to make the seventy miles to St. Lucia before dark.

But the day had started out slowly. We’d been anchored in Bequia and on Wednesday we heard the weather forecast for the weekend. It didn’t sound good: strong wind, big waves, and rain, and for several days.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

Bequia was a good place to wait out weather like that, but we could be pinned down there for a week or more which wasn’t in our plan, so before sun-up the next day, in company with several other boats, we set sail for St. Lucia, seventy miles away.

We put up the small jib and a reefed main, expecting a breeze, but the winds were lighter than we expected. We were hardly moving. We shook out the reef and still we wallowed.

Some of other boats turned on their engines and motored away from us. Others caught some wind and started sailing. We sat still, watching them sail away. It was frustrating and I fumed.

Eventually the wind filled for us too and we started to move. From that point on it was a good sail and in a few hours, when we broke into the St Vincent Channel, leaving the island of St. Vincent and its rain squalls behind, we had the conditions Wings loved: blue skies, blue seas, lots of sun and lots of wind.

We crossed the channel and St Lucia hove into view, the Pitons looking majestic.

As we neared the lee of St. Lucia, if anything, it got windier and rougher. The wind shifted to the North. We would have to beat the rest of the way to Rodney Bay. By then it was getting late in the day and the light started to fade. We were alone; the other boats were behind us or had turned in to ports further down the coast.

We tacked inshore looking for flatter water and beat on into gathering dusk.

By the last few tacks it was dark, windier than ever, and we were tired and anxious to make port.

When we turned into Rodney Bay and set the hook we were thankful to be there.

But we’d done our 70 miles and it was a good sail.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Wings, safely tucked away in Rodney Bay.

Click here for more photos from Bequia.

Click here for photos from St Lucia.

Click here for more photos of Wings

Fred & Judy, SV Wings

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Blogger jan roswold brown said...

How do you stand the suspense? Or is that a huge part of the thrill of sailing, not knowing what lies ahead...or below. Lil sis. Good to hear from you.:)

09 January, 2013 21:39  
Blogger wingssail said...

It's complicated.

In the first place the suspense gives me butterflies in my stomach before we go out; more so on race day if we are racing, but even for a little passage. Anxiety. These mostly disappear once we get onto the water, but a tough or dangerous situation can bring them back.

Then stoicism sets in; we face the suspense with indifference; what happens will happen. You just deal with it.

Finally, there is addiction. We've become addicted to the unknown. This applies, especially, to the next port, the next country, the next culture. No matter how much we like a place, no matter how comfortable we get somewhere, after a period of time we begin to get the itch. We want to see the next place.

Oh, I forgot to mention: sometimes drugs help.

10 January, 2013 03:27  

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