The Burnetts have been a bit sluggish. It turns out that even though one can “get used to” sleeping in 2-5 hour bursts throughout the day, it clearly isn’t natural. Mel has the cure for all sleep disorders: cross the Atlantic double-handed. Because after you land, you will sleep the sleep of the dead. We are talking 30-second sleep latency and deep, sweet REM, people.
We have finally secured some internet. The Western hemisphere has welcomed us with $3 a gigabyte data plans metered out in 10 GB chunks, renewable over your phone. No more 1 GB plans that you can renew in person only once every three months! I’m talking about you, Italy. We are back to civilization!
By the way, Mel thought of a better word for “landfall.” LANDSTAND! It sounds much more active and coordinated. Hopefully when you get on land, you can stand. Even if you still feel like you are moving! You can see a pic of Allie doing a “Landstand” below.
We have already toured Barbados enough to learn we can’t afford to tour Barbados, and pictures and a post are coming. First, here are some Frequently Asked Questions about our crossing.
- How long did it take? We sailed 2808 nautical miles in 17 days, 23 hours, averaging 6.5 kts over the ground. About 0.7 kts of that was current.
- What were the winds like? They were mostly 10-14 kts true, usually increasing a couple kts around sunset for a few hours. We had one day where the winds were less than 8 true. I think our peak was just 25 kts. We followed the winds, broad reaching the whole way. We were on starboard tack for most of the time, but we gibed the spinnaker just once, four days out from Barbados, and ended up on port tack.
- What were the seas like? Well behaved, really. A storm system up north pushed some 3-meter waves on us for a couple of days, but most of the time they were 2 meters or less. For the last few days we had an annoying but small southerly swell that shook the boat so that you couldn’t walk around the saloon easily without holding on. We had a favorable current of 0.7-0.9 kts most of the way, but about 400 miles out from Barbados the current got swirly and sometimes opposed us.
- Did you encounter any weather? Not really. As others have noted, some squalls did pop up about four days out from Barbados, but we never had to alter course to avoid them. The few we skirted just increased the wind by a few kts.
- Any sealife? One dead squid, 6 dead flying fish (multiple flying fish schools witnessed), multiple pods of dolphins, 1 seagull, some tropicbirds closer to Barbados, and 0 whales. We do not fish. 50% of the family doesn’t like fish. I know – weird!
- What was your sailplan? We flew our Quantum A3 Fibermax 1.8 oz asymmetrical spinnaker almost the entire time. We flew the spinnaker without the main up, as we spent most of the time deep downwind, with apparent wind angles between 140 and 160 usually. We used the wind vane mode on our autopilot, and it worked well. We would adjust the wind angle within that range to minimize the cross-swell and keep us comfortable. For example, we matched the wind angle to the swell angle just before Mel would cook dinner.
- How much did you motor? We had 46 hours total engine time (about 23 hours on each engine). Most of that was getting through the shifty winds between the Canary Islands, and the rest was motorsailing through the day of light winds. We did have to run the engines at high rpm per our break-in instructions.
- What broke? Not much! We chafed part of our spinnaker halyard when we let it fly not fully hoisted and the halyard popped off of the guide, so we lost a few feet of that. Also, the kids’ holding tank got clogged with something (KIDS!!! UGH!!!), but Greg was able to unclog it eventually. Our propane flow indicator light chose the crossing to burn out, but we were able to find a spare buried in a bilge. We learned only afterwards that our Cerberus spot tracker did not function, even though it lit up like it did (Sorry!) Finally, we discovered we had chafed through the webbing holding down the clew of the mainsail at some point, and we are getting it replaced at Doyle Sails in Barbados.
- Any issues with the recent repairs? No! Bilges are dry, engines are purring, and the props and rudders are happy. The antifouling on the props has already come off, but we can’t seem to find any antifouling that stays on props anyway.
- How did the kids handle things? Great! They tell us they weren’t scared, and Tommy would take an hour watch during the day sometimes. We kept the kids busy with games, school, craft projects, and exercises. They are horribly out of shape now.
- How did the cat handle things? She does not like offshores, and she got constipated, but she’s back to herself now that we are at anchor.
- Did provisioning work out okay? Yes! We still have a week’s worth of meat in the freezer and just now finished off the eggs, green peppers, and carrots. We did run out of fruit (apples, mandarin oranges) five days out. Once again, Mel bought too many snacks, forgetting that going offshore suppresses the entire family’s appetite.
- Any regrets? Buying the Watt&Sea hydrogenerator. It is designed so that we can’t fix parts of it ourselves, and so we have to send it back to the factory in France for repairs, which is dumb.
Enjoy the pics, including the much-anticipated Allie’s Blue Hair pic! The video we made is coming soon!