Monday, November 15, 2010

The Sea Takes Its Toll on One of Our Boats

Monday was a good news / bad news day! We are moving along nicely on our route to Tortola. The winds are still off the stern so we can never get a good reach going. The spinnaker helps pull us along. We are still on schedule for an 8-9 day crossing which would put us in Tuesday night or Wednesday. 

The crew is covering the helm in 2-hour watches during day and night. Although the daytime schedule is a little more relaxed as there are usually two or three of us on deck at the same time. In the evening the watches start at 6 pm and go through 6 am with Dennis, Bob and Stuart each taking two watches with four hours of sleep in between. Sherry is the Galley Manager and only does watches in the daytime.

We have had a few minor problems: broken brake on the out haul, broken line on the traveler and a couple of battens giving us grief. The traveler was repaired en route and the battens were pulled out and lashed to the deck. We will probably leave them out as they make it challenging to bring in the main sail. There is tremendous force on all parts of the boat in these winds and waves.

The sad or bad news is that we were notified that one of the fleet boats had diverted to the Bahamas and had crashed on a reef at 9 o'clock at night. The boat was named Rule 62 out of Atlanta. We heard the story was on CNN and maybe you read it on the Caribbean 1500 website. We did not know the people on board.

Apparently, one of the crew wanted off so they were going to drop her in the Bahamas to get a flight home. This is a good example of when making changes to schedules can be problematic if the situation is not well planned out. Those watching their progress on the tracking site back home could see they were headed into an area of danger. If they were not aware of the areas particular challenges and it was dark and windy, disaster is always a possibility. Part of the crew was thrown off the boat and the other two got into the life raft which capsized in the high waves. Three crew members washed ashore and were rescued. The one who had wanted off is still missing. All were experienced sailors.

It certainly was sobering news for the rest of us. And a good reminder that the forces of nature always win. We are being safe and cautious as we continue to sail southeast.

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