Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Rally!!!!

Well, here we are again.  The Bahamas Bound Rally started on time (actually 3 hours early) on November 1.  It was really exciting.  The wind was really honking out on the Chesapeake, so the Rally started at 9 am from wherever we happened to be…no starting line to cross.  We were quite a bit northwest of the other boats, so all 8 boats were ahead of us.  It was really exciting to catch up to them and pass several of the monohulls.  You can follow the Rally progress on this link .  We are in Bahamas Class 8, vessel Bentana.
We have seen lots of amazing things out on the sea….Monday night, the stars were amazing and we watched Orion in his voyage across the sky, we watched other boats in the vicinity and during the day we had two different pods of dolphins cavorting on our bow wave and giving us a real show.  One of these days we will get the videos on Youtube.
We had lots of discussions with our crew Tim Harris and Dave Otterbein about watch schedules for night time sailing. We decided that two people three hours on and three hours off was going to work best.  The winds and seas became heavier than expected.  At 9 pm Monday night, our autopilot (self steering) decided to conk out, so for the next 40 hours we steered by hand.   The winds were 20-30 knots, gusting heavier, and the waves were 5-12 feet high.  The wind was behind us a lot of the time, and it was very exciting to be surfing down the waves.  It was a little disconcerting at night however, when you couldn’t see them coming.  It was pretty much impossible to sleep for more than a minute or so at a time because of the wave action, so by 1 am Wednesday, with a ripped batten pocket on the main sail, a non functioning autopilot and a few other damaged boat parts, we decided to go in to Southport, on the Cape Fear River, for some R and R and Repairs. 
Through all of this weather, our brave little Sailing Cat Mary has learned to navigate her ramp to the bed both up and down and she seems interested in what is going on.  At one point, when we were really rockin’ and rollin’ I picked her up and we snuggled together in a somewhat sheltered spot and she purred up a storm.  J
It just so happens that Dave’s parents live in Wilmington, NC, about 20 miles from Southport, and they made all the arrangements for our docking and repairs!  We have spent the last few days with them in their lovely home on the Cape Fear River, going daily to the boat to prepare for the rest of the voyage.  Carol and Harry, thank you for your help and hospitality.  It is the voyage, not the destination and every new person and place adds to the journey.  We are blessed to have met you!
We expect to leave Sunday night (tonight) on the favorable tide, and will meet the rest of the Bahamas Ralliers on the other side of the Gulfstream.
Judy-- Nov 7, 2010

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