Friday, March 6, 2015

Getting Somewhere ..

After a week of enjoying one of the instant communities that form where ever a group of cruisers find themselves, Kintala pried herself off the dock at the Bimini Blue Water Marina and headed north. Most of the community left at the same time, a dozen or so boats heading off in all directions. Kintala pointed her bow into the wind and sailed off the edge of the Internet for a few glorious days.

Island Spirit, one of the many commercial ferries here.

Along the way she dropped her hook in the bite off West End, Mangrove Cay, and Great Sale Cay, all places she had stopped last year. Those three days of sailing were romps in three to five foot seas while hard on the wind. Sometimes so hard on the wind that motoring was the only option, but whenever she could make way under sail, heeled hard, water washing down the deck, flying everything she could carry, she did. Like last year, two days were spent in Great Sale. We were a bit behind in housekeeping and boat work, and also a bit weary from a series of sunrise “anchors up” to late afternoon cold ones.

Sunset at Great Sale Cay
Among the tasks for the deck monkey was safety wiring all of the sailing hardware. Somehow, along our bouncy way, the shackle for the jib had shed its zip-tie safety, worked itself free, and disappeared into the deep blue sea. And somehow, the deck monkey missed spotting the obviously missing bit of rigging right at the anchor while picking said anchor up off the bottom and so, on day two, the jib rolled out into 20 knot winds with the tack free and flying. (Bad deck monkey … bad!) A bit of a Chinese Fire Drill ensued but no damage was done. Deb turned the boat to keep the load off the head sail. The halyard was eased a bit, a new shackle was slipped into place, and all was well in our sailing world once again. But, while sitting in Great Sale Cay, all zip-tie safeties went away and lock wire was put in place. (Good deck monkey .,.. good!)

A cloud formation that Tim would have flown through in days gone by.

Full moon over Great Sale Cay
After an easy day off, Kintala pulled her hook this morning and motored around the south end of Great Sale Cay. Once clear of the shallows she settled into the south wind on a beam to deep reach, making her way toward Fox Town with its phone tower, Internet, and rumors of a small grocery store. With the winds fading the call was made to shake the reef out of the main, and then to pole out the jib. The reef was in place after days of winds blowing 15 to 20 since it makes it easier to balance the sails, which makes it easier to keep the wind vane happy, which makes it much easier on the crew since no one has to helm for hours at a time, which just makes it all around easier.

Henry the Cape Horn wind vane.
Notice the casual reference to reefing, 20 knots winds, 5 foot seas, sailing heeled hard on the wind for hours, setting a jib pole, and getting Henry (the wind vane) working well from banging hard into waves to gently ghosting along way, way off the wind. A long hoped for but elusive metamorphosis seems to be taking place with Kintala and her crew. This thing is, almost, a well founded cruising boat. And we are, almost, a reasonably well founded crew. Still a very careful crew. Still conservative in all things sailing decision related (About the only place where “conservative” is an adjective that applies to me.) And still aware of how quickly things can turn sour. But this is our home, our boat, our way of living, and we are getting pretty comfortable with it all. It has been close to eight years since we set out to come this way.  Eight years of constant learning, work, struggle, frustration, mechanical failures of various stripes, missteps, and a few close calls.  In the world of sailing we haven't come that far; a couple of thousand miles, two trips to the Islands, one trip down the ICW.  No much of a resume, but neither are we beginners any longer.

I don't really know where that puts us, but, where ever it is, it is a good place to be.

Headsail poled out always gives us an extra knot in speed.
Still can't get used to looking down and seeing the rudder.

No comments: