2.12.2010

Farmers Cay to Leaf Cay near Lees Stocking Island 2-6-10

Farmers Cay to Leaf Cay near Lees Stocking Island

We woke early and had “big daddy” breakfast! What’s on the menu for the “big daddy” breakfast? Bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast, fresh squeezed juice and coffee this day and it can vary based on what is on hand. After breakfast we discussed the timing and location of our next passage. We decided that we wanted to move when the winds were westerly so that the next cut would not be an issue. We also wanted to arrive on a rising tide so that if we happened to run aground we could float off and move to deeper water. We also wanted a passage of 5 hours or less. As we reviewed the charts for potential sites that fit our criteria we spied Leaf Cay near Lee Stocking Island. The cut looked good and there were several anchorage sites with protection from various wind directions and it was an estimated 4-5 hours south of Farmers Cay. We had thoughts of remaining where we were to enjoy another day at the festival but the westerly winds dictated our departure. We began the mental departure check list and we were off the hook and sailing in less than one hour. We still had the first reef in the main sail from the last passage and we decided to not use the head sail and set the staysail for this trip. The winds were out of the west at 25+ mph with gusts that approached 40 mph. The seas were 2-4 with swells from the west for most of the passage. We were sailing in the Lee of the islands. The reefed main and staysail was the perfect combination for this passage. We had excessive heeling angle twice and that was easily corrected with the traveler and sail trim. We had a moving average speed of 5.0 kts and a top speed of 8.0 kts as recorded by the dashboard features of the Garmin Chart Plotter. Did I mention that we managed 8 kts while we were towing our dinghy with the motor on it? We were very happy with the performance of Mary Rose in these conditions. We were about two thirds of the way to our destination when we noticed a squall looming off our stern and it appeared to be overtaking us rapidly. We decided that our current sail configuration was adequate and we donned our foul weather gear. The Admiral fired up the radar and confirmed that there was indeed a heavy band of rain behind us and it was overtaking us. We discussed what to expect when it reached us and what we needed to do in advance and during the squall. We closed up all the openings on Mary Rose and settled in for the attack. We expected a wind shift and it happened right on cue. First the rain and I DO MEAN RAIN! Then the wind shift with a temperature drop of a few degrees. The winds clocked from west to north and increased in speed and the gusts were more frequent. It was wet and loud (more on loud later) but never very rough. When we left Farmers Cay we were not expecting a wind shift to the north so we did not rig our boom brake and we did not rig it as the squall approached. This goes on the “to do” list for the next approaching squall. With the winds right on the stern there was always the possibility of an accidental jibe. With the winds blowing at up to 40+ an accidental jibe could cause serious damage and or injury to both Mary Rose and Crew. The admiral did a perfect job keeping a watch on this situation with main sheet in hand and ready to execute the maneuver to safely jibe Mary if the winds continued to clock. We never entered into an accidental jibe but we did have the staysail flutter a few times which is the early warning that you are nearing the wind angles for one to occur. The east to west cut was comfortable with the north winds and we found a great anchorage, we arrived on a rising tide and we are the only boat in sight! SWEEEEEET!
Captain Don Montgomery

ADMIRALS PERSPECTIVE:

Departure from Farmer’s Cay was a bittersweet moment for my self. We met numerous cruisers as well as locals that were a blast to hang out with. We also had the promising opportunity to have participated as crew in the local boat races. But as I adjust to the wonders of a cruisers life we must also adjust to the few down falls which includes packing up and leaving when a weather window opens up, even when we are not quite ready to go. The window opened so off we went gleefully to our next adventure to meet new people and discover what surprises that await us at our next stop. We were flying along as the Capt previous stated when the squall approached, the winds began to blow harder with gusts >40. Quite a few times Mary heeled to her port side which resulted in a nice salt water wash down for her deck and crew. I was rather thrilled as I watched the rain approach. You see living on a boat, water is a luxury. Water consumption is monitored closely since we only carry 80 gallons on board and when it’s used up it is gone until we come to a port that has potable water. It had been several days since we were able to shower, trust me, we get pretty smelly sometimes! Which is another down fall to cruising.. very limited ability to shower and body odor. Baby wipes has become the new words for showers! Any way let me get back on track.. my hair and body had been covered in salt to the extent that when I brushed my hair it was as if I had a salt shaker hidden some place! I was so thrilled to be able to at long last have a fresh water rinse! The rain came and after the initial squall line passed, the winds calmed and the rain poured down. I began blissfully absorbing the fresh clean rain water. I felt like a little kid playing in a summer rain shower. I was also able to capture a couple of gallons in a jug for later use. The problem began approximately 30 minutes after I finished playing in the rain. I was finished playing but it continued to rain and rain and rain. Then it became cold. So there I stood in my foul weather gear wet, cold but clean. I find myself feeling gracious more often these days. I am appreciative for the shower and gracious for the small stuff that I once took for granted. Once we arrived at anchor and we had the rain catcher in place, the clouds cleared and the rain stopped.

Isn’t life funny sometimes!!

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