Crash! Bang! Boom! – Jamaica   1 comment

I had every intention of writing blog posts to publish via sat phone internet during our passage. That possibility went out the window when it became clear that the seasickness medication I took wasn’t going to keep me feeling 100%. I felt better than I would have un-medicated but sitting down to type something sounded like torture (as did drinking coffee, which never appeals to me while we’re sailing in hot climates).

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Here we are in Jamaica. You may be wondering how we ended up here rather than in Puerto Rico as we planned. It all came down the the weather conditions when we first left Curacao. The waves and wind were more serious than we envisioned based on the forecast. The prospect of slogging upwind into them for 3 days was not appealing. It also became clear within minutes of heading towards our intended destination that our chain plates (where rigging that holds up the mast attaches to the deck) were leaking like sieves. We should have foreseen that. They are notoriously leaky and need constant re-bedding. There were streams of water pouring from the chain plate that was getting hit with every wave that splashed on deck.

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Then there was the mainsheet. We broke the attachment piece joining the mainsheet to the traveler…twice. We jibed, the boom rocketed across the boat, and that little about-to-fail piece disintegrated. We ended up starting the engine, furling the jib, and then coaching our runaway sail back to the boat so Lee could re-attach it. This was all in about 20-25 knots of wind. Lee lashed two shackles together with spectra. Then we were stupid enough to gybe again a few minutes later. Again, crash, bang, another part of the system was broken. That repair took a little while longer and looked super sketchy. Hey, it got us all the way to Jamaica (with no more gybes).

Heading a little off the wind seemed like an excellent idea at that point to we steered Pirat towards Jamaica and settled in for a slightly longer passage than we had planned (4 days, 3 nights rather than 3 days and 2 nights). Now that we are here, it was totally worth every extra hour in the relentless sun or on an exhausting night watch.

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The days all blended together. There was nothing out there but an occasional freighter, which seemed to pass us more at night time. One got awfully close and we were really thankful for our AIS receiving abilities, allowing us to see what was coming.  The only living things we saw were flying fish. Gathering them from the deck every morning was fun. They accidentally fly onto the boat and tend to get stuck there. A GIANT one landed right next to me on one of my night watches. It scared me so badly that I almost jumped off the boat. The poor fish flopped into the cockpit rather than over the side. I left it there for Lee to deal with in the morning.

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During the day we did a lot of reading and napping. The oven-like conditions down below were often preferable to the hot sun on deck. It was fun playing with the Delorme tracker and I hope some of you followed our progress with that as well! Getting text messages while in the middle of the Caribbean sea was especially fun.

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I wish I could show you a picture of the sea and sky at night. It is so breathtakingly beautiful. There were so many stars. I probably saw 5 shooting stars a night too. Pirat’s wake glowed with phosphorescence and the only sound was of the rumbling waves and persistent wind.

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We made good time – averaging around 7.5 to 8 knots at first and then less as the wind abated. With waves to surf and 20 knots of wind behind us we peaked at over 13 knots.

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We spent all day yesterday looking for Jamaica and were starting to think that dry land was just a myth. I finally spotted land around dinner time last night. The wind was dying and we knew we wouldn’t make it into port until late so we called the marina on the sat phone. They said an easy dock would be there waiting for us. It turned out there was a friendly local to help us tie up when we pulled in at around 1 am too. Welcome to Jamaica!

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I’ll check in tomorrow with more on what we are doing now that we’re here. All I can say is its gorgeous and the people are the friendliest we’ve encountered so far. Oh, and a plunge in a nice, cold swimming pool was the best feeling ever after 4 days without a shower!

Posted April 9, 2013 by Rachel in Uncategorized

One response to Crash! Bang! Boom! – Jamaica

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  1. I guess Plan Bs aren’t so bad when they involve JAMAICA. Hope you have a nice rest. 🙂

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