Bye Brunswick!

Yep, we left. On Tuesday, at 3 PM, we slipped our docklines and headed out. Destination: West Palm Beach. Why West Palm, you ask? Is it the sparkling waters? The sandy beaches? Nope. It’s because from there, we can get to the Bahamas with, hopefully, minimal drama.

To say, the voyage was an adventure is understating it. In the past, we have gone for day sails, returning to dock in the evening, or anchoring out at night and sailing again the next day. This was not that. This was a straight run of 267 nautical miles with no stopping. Now, some of you are saying “Well, 267 miles is no big deal! That’s like 4 hours in may car!” And that’s true. Now imagine that your car is a convertible, without heat, with a top speed of 10 mph, in which things keep breaking but you can’t stop. And did I mention you CANNOT GET OUT OF THE CAR!!!!” That’s what this was.

For starters, if you are imagining us lounging in the cockpit as the wind gently wafts us along, allow me to disabuse you of this notion. For sailors, the wind rarely cooperates. Usually, there is either too much, not enough, or it’s blowing from the wrong direction. Or all of those. That was us. We motored. A lot. We had the motor (that nice, bright, shiny, new motor!) on for probably 85% of the journey. Sometimes the sails were up as well, with the motor as an assist, but often it as just the engine. Second, it was cold. Especially at night. Because we are outside. It’s the North Atlantic Ocean, people! It’s cold! Third, try sleeping. As I write this, I have had 3 hours of sleep in the last 60. Same for Kim. Also, we haven’t showered, but fortunately for you, blogs can’t smell. Boats are noisy. Engine or no engine, there is a lot noise. Engine noise, prop shaft noise, the “wind in the rigging” (sounds romantic, right? Not so much-it involves slapping and banging. And then there is the need to make sail adjustments, sometimes at 3 AM. Rig the whisker pole. De-rig the whisker pole. Put the sails up. Take the sails down. It’s a lot. And at 3 AM, in the cold, when the boat is rolling and we are tired, going up to the deck to work is, shall we say, trepidatious (is that a word? I’m so tired.) Finally, there is the fact that we’re noobs. Not only have we never done this before, we’ve never done anything remotely like this before. Kim and I, alone, in the ocean, in the dark, on a boat. Who could sleep?!

Anyway, we made it. And even though we’re exhausted, we feel pretty darn proud of ourselves. We managed to work together, solve problems, support each other, and get this first big step done. Was it enjoyable? No, not all of it. But some of it was super cool. We saw two rocket launches from Cape Canaveral: one during the day and one at night. And we made some new friends. A family on a sailing catamaran left Brunswick with us and we buddy boated to West Palm. A little hand-holding via radio was very reassuring. Thanks Jason and Ashley! And the last day was amazing. At about 6:30 AM, the wind shifted direction and picked up intensity and for 7 glorious hours, the engine was off and we were rocketing along. With the right wind, Meraviglia is a racehorse. It was super fun. THAT is what sailing is. And if we can only get that 10% of the time? We’ll take it!

Warm at last! West Palm Beach, Florida!