Riding the waves
Clear skies, tropical weather, turquoise blue water, dolphins and Mahi Mahis are all behind us now. We now have 550 NM to go. With that we entered a more northerly latitude and ride in front of a low pressure system towards to coast of Canada. Instead of stars at night, dark clouds are our companions. Strong winds push String Theory relentlessly forward. The stronger winds kicked up the sea to an average wave higth of six to eight feet sometimes approaching 10 feet.
During our best watch we averaged 10 kts of speed with master driver Ronald pushing the boat down a wave at 15.5 kts - currently the record on this voyage. Surfing down the waves is exhilarating. The stern lifts slightly in the approaching sea while the bow dips lower and lower and all of a sudden the helm becomes very light and the boat drives down the front of the wave accelerating more and more until the wave overtakes the boat and we drop into the trough behind the passing wave.
Inside the boat the ride feels much less comfortable. Like an untamed horse, String Theory bucks with every wave, rolling from one side only to jerk back to the other side the next second. Simple tasks like pouring a mug of hot chocolate become a delicate balancing act. The crew has to avoid being thrown from on end of the boat to the other with a pot of boiling hot water to follow them. Coming off watch we drop in our bunks immediately despite the constant rocking of the boat. Driving a boat at night in a following sea is tiring at the best of times.
By now we all have grown our sea legs and settled into our simple routine of: Sailing, eating and sleeping. It's quite remarkable to note how the novice crew developed their sailing skills over the last 10 days. The first few nights the boat was often ahead the person at the helm. Now everybody is fully in command and steers the boat like they have been doing this for years.
It looks like one more day of formidable sailing, before the high will push up from the south, squeezing out the southerly winds we currently enjoy. Until then, we keep riding the waves.
Aloha from String Theory.