To Bermuda, Day 1

S/V SN-E Cetacea Log Day 1 – 94NM (18 hours)


James’ 7-8 pm watch 

7:47 pm: Anchor came up just fine. I’m a little worried about how the dinghy is sitting…seems a little less solid than it has in the past. I’ll keep an eye and an ear on it.

Beluga Greyfinger is a little freaked out. He’s using my lap for comfort, but his breathing is shallow and fast. I bet he’s a little seasick. He didn’t get a meclazine like we did.

The winds are from the southeast at 10-15, so getting out of the inlet was a splashy chore. Full main as soon as I hit 50′ of chain, as we’ve been doing in this new era of traveling as an electric sailboat, and then when I turned east for the inlet, we added the yankee. Chop from wakes, chop from crossing the bar, and even when we turned downwind it took a while for the waves to feel longer and slower.

The tiller pilot did a good job from the inlet until we got past the ship anchorage and then James set up Lovebot. It looks like we’ll make good time to the top of the Middle Shoal north of Grand Bahama. A storm cell wanted to visit itself upon us with the expected blessings, but it seems to be blowing its wad over Fk Lauderdale. Yay!

James just crowed about how fast Fk Lauderdale is receding. We’re in the Gulf Stream. It’s a serious speed boost and I really can feel the warmth in the humid air.

James’ 9 pm – midnight watch 

9:00 pm: James just took over and I (Dena) need to try to sleep. I’m rather tired, actually, and it’s my normal bedtime. My shift went smoothly. I had to furl the yankee because the wind shifted to southwest. Then I hand-steered a while to gain some distance from a passing 600′ tanker called Golden State. A 100′ vessel passed on our other side, but there was plenty of room for us all.

Nighttime comes to me (James) surrounded by all the ships of the world. So much traffic…so much junk. The moon dominates the waves after the sun pulls that final black curtain away from Venus’ own reflection of it. Wow, 6 knots.


Dena’s midnight – 3 am watch

1:51 am: This phone has a nighttime photo feature that I like. It’s not exactly what my eyes see, but sometimes it turns out beautifully.

Night pic
Our stern light illuminates Lovebot, but the moon was bright enough to dazzle regardless

James’ 3-6 am watch

3:17 am: Gybed to a port tack on the shift change. Very downwind but it’s supposed to come west.

Dena’s 6-9 am watch 

6:22 am: Snapped a selfie to celebrate my first daylight shift. I can tell that the sleeping thing didn’t really happen…can you?

Tired Dena
The good life, sans sleep

My (J’s) sleep is riddled with all the things I don’t want to happen…but I did sleep…I think.

Wind has come around to the west and is freshening. It was about F2 and now feels like more, gusting to F3. The water still looks pretty calm, so maybe it’s an artifact of having it forward of the beam. Main and yankee still, the staysail wouldn’t do much for our speed…6.9 knots just then! Definitely Gulf Stream conditions.

The light!

7:59 am: Had to come farther into the wind to gain some searoom on a pair of tankers. Made for a bouncier ride for James, and he was on the upwind settee just a little too asleep to think about moving for about a half hour…. desperate for normalization…not sick but…

Only a few minutes after he switched to the starboard side, I passed the tanker and was able to fall off and ease the ride.

So much traffic

By the end of my shift, the wind had eased back to F2. Still doing 4.5-5 knots, so we’re still getting the Stream. Once we top Middle Shoal, we’ll turn east and hope the current forecast was right about the easy-going current over the Bahamas.

Dena’s 10-11 am watch

10:15 am: I looked pretty tired earlier, but I made coffee while off watch and now I’m feeling pretty good. Lovebot is driving, main and yankee in the same F2-3 westerly. We’re only about 12 NM from the top of the shoal and doing about 5 knots.

The water, though. It’s over a thousand feet deep and it’s oceanic blue. Stunning. I don’t think the pictures will do it justice.

James’ 11-noon watch 

11:05 am: Where are the seabirds? No signs of life below either.

11:58 am: We are ending our first “day” nearing our turn east. We’re doing noon-to-noon days, partly because it makes it so much more likely that we’ll log the data on paper assiduously (rather than haphazardly), which is easy to imagine if gathering it at midnight. It’s also a nod to the celestial navigation practice of taking a noon sighting.


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