July 5, Sleighride to Columbia
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
There was a huge bang which woke me and Wings lurched wildly. Items flew around the cabin and a torrent of salt water hit me in the face.
I knew we'd hit something: rocks, a reef, a ship, whatever, it was terrible; the end.
"What was that?" I yelled as my hand gripped the ladder, heading for deck.
"A wave." replied Judy, "I'm soaked."
"Oh, just a wave. God that scared me." I sank back to my bunk. Wings recovered and sailed on.
It was a sleigh ride to Columbia which we were on and this was just one more part of it.
It had started out easy on Wednesday: a little wind, some mediocre waves, and we'd set a jib and main. It was the conservative call. The wind-vane handled it nicely. West bound, heading of 280.
But the wind built and so did the waves. By Thursday we had wind in the high twenties and huge waves, 20-30 feet, breakers.
Wings flew to the West in it and Judy and I just hung on. The vane kept steering, the waves broke around us but didn't board, and the boat kept on surfing, and we made miles toward Columbia.
We reduced sail but it didn't slow us much. I saw 34 knots of wind speed and the boat hit 10.89, almost eleven . Judy saw less on her watches, but still, quite a lot for a couple of oldsters like us.
We were down to no jib and a double reefed mainsail when the wave hit but there was little else we could do to reduce, so we just kept sailing.
By Friday morning, four hours ahead of our plan, we arrived in Santa Marta, Columbia, and found a berth in the marina, five hours after Sooliman, who left 12 hours ahead of us.
A job well done, and now: a new country.
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Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Santa Marta, Columbia.