Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crossing the Gulf Stream

After several days of sailing in 10-15 foot (and sometimes even greater) seas, we crossed the Gulf Stream. This was our first adventure of being where the northerly flow of warm water literally clashes with the north cold waters. It is very turbulent. Sailors call it "lumpy." I had a few other choice words for it!

Unfortunately, we crossed at night so we could not see the change in the water color, but we did watch the water temperature nearly reach 80 degrees! To make matters more challenging, the winds were out of the northwest so we had following seas all the way across. It was like riding a big surf board from the top of one wave, down the face only to rise to the top of the next wave.

The sailing challenge was the risk of an accidental jibe. The sails were slamming around a lot even with the preventer rigged. The sounds of the lines slapping on the deck was enough to bring you straight out of a dead sleep! Unfortunately, we had the low pressure system hanging out over Bermuda the whole trip so our winds were never favorable for a beam or close reach.

Once we crossed the steam, the temperature warmed and the winter clothes were shed. It is amazing how quickly it changes on the east side of the Gulf Stream. We crossed perpendicular to the flow, then we turned southeast to parallel the rhumb line. With the wind still behind us we were able to fly the spinnaker.

I cannot upload photos at this time so there will be more once we get on land and get a better Internet connection.

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