Friday, October 31, 2008

5 days (so far) at sea

[Maryanne] For those of you in your office reading this, there is no need to wish you were here. Apart from the first half a day, the rest of these 5 days have so far been miserable. Very windy, very cold, rain, thunder, lightning, etc.

Our Jib sail while under double reef, mysteriously came unsnapped, and unfurled itself, managing to mangle itself around the screacher halyard - that took quite a battle for Kyle and I to recover. The jib sat on the foredeck for a few days until we could find a reasonable lull to re-hoist it. We made fine way with just a double reefed main anyway. (For those non sailors - just think misery, and cold fear).

We are deliberately heading East as far as we can get, before finally making the turn South. This is to make the most of the anticipated winds. In heading east we got an extra (unexpected) boost from the Gulf stream, which is (was?) behaving unusually and headed off shore in just the way we were going for a couple of days.

Kyle and I were both seasick for the first few days, but we have settled in now to our routine and our surroundings. I think I remember Kyle saying something about night watches in shorts and t-shirts? For now it is full foul weather gear, and still feeling the chill... Brrrr... can’t wait to turn south.

We lost 4 throwable cushions overboard to the wind (3 in one go, the 4th we should have learned our lesson by then, but clearly didn’t). Also our masthead light (lights that show we are a sail boat and what direction we are headed in) has stopped working so we are making use of the steaming lights (lights that show we are a motor boat, and what direction we are headed in) at night to ensure we can be seen - and keeping out of everyone else’s way.

We did get a good send off from a pod of dolphins, so can’t complain too much (but since when did that stop me).

P.S. Posting updates from sea requires all the stars to be aligned.. Don’t worry if you don’t hear from us until we next reach land.


NautiG said...

I've been keeping up with your trip via yotreps. I can't say that I've been enjoying your daily updates. They are a bit of an antidote to my yearning to be back on my boat. I've never experienced conditions as extreme as you guys have the past few days, but I do get flashbacks to some of my unpleasant sailing experiences while reading your updates.

Please be safe. Along with equipment failures, I found fatigue one of my worst enemies in extreme conditions. I can't imagine how tired I would be after being seasick and not eating for a couple days. I hope you guys get some rest soon. Is Bermuda in your itinerary?

Lou and Meg SV *Starrider* said...

Meg and I have been keeping up with your journey as well, thanks for the updates. Just like Kyle, we hate to motor and prefer a trip in the ocean, rather then motor down the ICW. So we are following your trip closely to see the path you two are taking.

I was wondering if you both have the isinglass enclosure for your boat, and if you do, why are you not using it? We were out last week in the ocean in 9 foot seas (still testing the boat and ourselves), and the enclosure kept us warm and dry.

You struck a nerve with the seasickness, as you know I suffered through it earlier this year. Is it so rough out there that no seasick medication works and your body just has to get adjusted? I had good luck with scopace, but since we have been sailing so often, I have not had to take it all summer.

I hope you get a chance to take some video, we really wonder how rough it gets that far out in the Ocean. Are the conditions just very large swells, or are they short seas that keep going over the foredeck? Maybe your Gem is more watertight then ours, but we find with ours in rough seas the flotation chambers do fill with water and need to be emptied once in a while.

Good luck to the both of you, we will join you both in Spirit as we follow your progress.

Anonymous said...

Arghh, I wanted so badly for this to truly be a sunshine and fair weather journey. I suspect it will be, eventually, but for now, you are certainly paying your dues. I am thankful for every day I don't throw up after reading your updates. Thank you, Maryanne, for managing, somehow, to post your update here. It makes me feel you are not so far away, though of course you are. Kyle, don't try to be a hero. You both need rest and sleep and food to stay alert in these awful seas. I am sympathetic and anxious to hear next time that things have improved for both of you. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Kyle? Uncle Kyle? Uncle Kyle? Where's Uncle Kyle?

Lille Davis

kate said...

I'm so glad I checked in today - I've been thinking there was no need but you did manage to post something about your trip! "Something" doesn't quite do it justice, though, does it? I have decided not to be nervous on your account - because you tell me not to be. So there, I've said it. My ability to feel assured you are both safe and making good progress is inextricably linked to my ability to follow instructions: "Don't worry about us" = "All righty, then!" Seriously, I am sorry this wasn't the sun-shining, shorts-wearing portion of the journey, but you'll be making up for it, well, short-ly [your snigger here... or maybe just mine]. You're not missing anything here, by the way. Just a silly ol' election that the whole world's talking about. It's early afternoon of the 4th, and I still have hours and hours of nail-biting fun in front of me, Oh Joy. Well, as I don't know anything about sailing or the equipment you mentioned, all I can do is say that we miss you lots, and we're sending good thoughts for your safe arrival.

Anonymous said...

Hi you two! Glad you were able to give us an update. (If I’d known about the capacity of the postcard notes on Yotreps, I would have checked more than just infrequently; I’ll do better now.)

I figured you’d have a good push out to sea with the front that passed though on your departure and with the following northern winds. But how awful to hear the majority of the trip has been pretty miserable so far. Between the weather, the sails (I can appreciate the fear of being double-reefed in nasty weather), the seasickness, the cushion losses and the equipment failure, it seems you’ve had little samplings of the unexpected “joys” of sailing.

But however bad they may be, I know you wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything, certainly not the cubicle life! Just think of how much better sailors they’re making you. ;-) And hopefully, they’ll make your arrival at the islands all the sweeter!

Here's to warmer days and a trouble-free remainder of your voyage! Happy sails!

Anonymous said...

It's great to hear from you, even if it isn't all good least you are still on top the water! And just think of the stories you will have to share, much more material than day after day of unrelenting good weather would provide you! Seriously though, I hope your weather and seas take a turn for the better and that you have already experienced the worst of it. Be safe and keep in touch!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your excellent progress. I am following you daily on Yotreps. Hope you hit the warm weather soon.

MMR said...

Hi, Maryanne!

Glad to hear things are going ok. Be safe - Hurricane Paloma is out there and those storms don't play by the rules.

We'll be following your progress in hopes of someday making the same trip!

"Patience Two"

Chuckles ;) and Mary said...

Hang in there folks, hopefully it will be worth it in the end.
I'd trade sea sick for heart sick in the office any day (and yes, I've lived with sea sickness for days on end).

Patience Two, Gem105mc #987

Anonymous said...

Where do you expect to be in January? We are chartering a catamaran in the Grenadines then. But it will be only fair weather sailing for us!
What an adventure you've had!
I think you fully qualify as "old salts" after that.
Fair Winds & Following Seas!
Patti & Alan
Ocean Marine

SV-Footprint said...

Hi Patti & Alan - good to hear from you - I assume JD spread the word. I don't have your email, and as of now our plans are all up in the air - not sure where we will be next, let alone January. Chartering should be a WONDERFUL vacation (especially from the VA winter), we'll keep an eye out for you, and I'll post here if I think we'll be in the Grenadines.