We made it! Troubadour is a great offshore sailboat. The more we sail her the more we appreciate the all of the little details of the Robert Perry design and the tweaks made by previous owners.
We departed from Hampton, Va on Friday November 11th with a 10 AM start off of Old Point Comfort at Fort Monroe. The crew was me, Amy, Graham, and Angie. Angie is a very experienced delivery crew who came along to help us with sailing and watches as we learn the boat. Winds were 18-25 knots out of the NW which made for a downwind run under a single reefed main. We had to jibe a couple of times to get out of the Chesapeake Bay over the tunnel of the CB Bridge Tunnel. Once on the open Atlantic we were mostly on a starboard tack at about 130 degrees magnetic. I think we entered the Gulfstream on Sunday morning very early (Happy Birthday Chris!). As we cross the Gulfstream, off comes the fleece, gloves, and heavy foul weather gear. In a few hours out come the shorts and the fishing gear.
We have an informal watch schedule during the day and 3 hour watches at night: Graham from 6-9, Amy 9-midnight, Angie midnight to 3, I get the 3-7:30. At 7:30 we do an SSB check-in with fleet position reports and wind direction and strength The morning check-in also includes the weather forecast for the high seas. We use this in addtion to the high seas radio fax reports we get by connecting the SSB to the laptop (thanks Dave!).
It is pleasant sailing although the wind is often what we Chesapeake Bay racers call no wind out of the south. We motor through the calms and sail when we can. I picked up a great book, An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude (thanks Jeff Kan!) which we read on the way down. By the 5th day, everyone is reading the book at the same time. It has four bookmarks in it.
By Thursday, as we approach the finish line, the wind shifts to the NNE and the seas begin to build. At 4 AM we heave to in big seas off off the Spanish Cay south cut. We have been told to not to attempt the cut at night. Then Mr Murphy, as in: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, pays us a visit. First, we break a chainplate, second we get pooped by a wave that breaks into the cockpit. The wave seems to have caused a short in the engine panel and we can’t get the engine started. We want to motor into the cut and although we can sail in we want to have the engine running we we enter the cut. There is a bypass starter on board which I have to dig out. When I go to connect the bypass starter we find the problem is a blown fuse! A quick change with a replacement from the ample supply of spares the previous owners had on board helps us to banish Mr. Murphy for a while. We motorsail through the cut at about noon and the seas die down to a 3 ft chop. We arrive at Green Turtle Cay at about 3:30 PM welcomed by Bluff House staff and Johnny, the Caribbean 1500 staffer.
Currently, we relaxing in the marina organizing the the repair list and making reservations to go scuba diving with Brendal.
Wow, what an exciting post, glad you made it! Cool pic of Graham too. Have a great time diving. 🙂
Glad you made it safe and sound. Time for a pina colada.
glad you are safe and sound. saw this mentioned in a few entries: what’s a “cut”?
Hi Lisa, Great to hear from you. There are barrier reefs around most of the islands here. The cuts are channels through the reef that allow you to get behind the reefs and the barrier islands. When you come in from the Atlantic side there are only a few cuts that are deep enough and safe for sailboats to come through. All the best, Matt
Great reading Matt. Keep up the good work. I wish you and your entire family a happy thanksgiving!