My off-shore voyage: Maryland to Virgin Gorda
Virgin Gorda, Virgin Islands
After a week long delay in Annapolis due to stormy weather in the Atlantic, the voyage was to finally begin. We were all very anxious to get sailing and after being storm stuck for 1 week, the plan was to sail out first thing on Friday, November 11th. There was some discussion about whether we should leave late Thursday evening because apparently, beginning a sailing voyage on Friday is bad luck, but there was a bit of a storm in the Chesapeake Bay Thursday night and we didn't really want to head out in the dark. So Friday morning it would be.
We all awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed Friday morning to discover lovely Mezza Luna stuck in the mud. Not only was it low tide but the wind from the storm had blown some water out of the inlet and the boat was aground. s***!
We were optimistic though. At 4pm sharp, which was high tide, we were afloat again. We threw off the bowlines and Peter jammed the throttle as much as he could and although we could feel the keel shoving through the mud as we left the marina, we finally made it out! We were off!
Now, only 1500 nautical miles to go.
The first 2 days we sailed down the Chesapeake Bay. The weather was good - sunny but a bit chilly and busy waters with freighters, navy ships, and cruise ships (who would want to go to Baltimore in November??) so our night watches were busy. I spotted a ship that was on a collision path and earned 3 Snickers.
The third day we entered the Gulf Stream which took about 200 miles to cross. On the other side was much welcomed warmth!
After we crossed the gulf stream, we struggled some with wind directly from the south, which is not helpful when you are attempting to go south. So we ended up tacking all around the Atlantic for a few days. Southeast 103 degrees. Southwest 230 degrees. Southeast 113. etc. We sailed by Bermuda and considered going ashore and getting fuel, but Peter decided against it as he felt once we got ashore, getting us all back aboard would be like "herding kittens".
Day 7 - Yay, the easterly Tradewinds! Thank you Poseidon! Once we hit the trades, which were blowing pretty steady at 25 knots, we were sailing about 9 knots steady.
After 10 days at sea and about 500 miles from the coast, we arrived in Virgin Gorda, BVI. Safe and sound.
And after all of that, as I reflect on my voyage, what did I learn?
A lot about sailing, a little about navigation, how to vomit over the side of the boat without falling off, how to pump out floating terds from the head (very difficult), British humor, but most importantly, how fast humans can bond and depend on one another.
Memories for a lifetime!