The race against the clock

We are less than 24h out from Grenada and the squalls have taken their toll on our sleep and bid for a strong position in the rally. It’s really a hassle with unpredictable squalls that are far more frequent at night than at day (when you can also add the visual impression to your guess/analysis of which ones are likely to bring too strong winds). Let’s say that we’ve practiced and refined our reefing techniques quite well and that the bed rest has been short for many of us.

We’ve had fairly strong winds for a few days and Wednesday night was rough with some squalls that brought winds of 18-20 m/s. We had taken a second and a third reef in the mainsail so we would be just fine in tailwinds up to 20+ m/s. By the end of the night though the base wind died and was down to 5-6 m/s in between the squalls, which made us move frustratingly slow. Hanna was just about to bring some more hands up on deck to take out a reef when another squall line approached. It brought a wind shift from 5 to 20 m/s in 2 min, with heavy rain – so Hanna got company anyways as we all woke up, but we decided to keep the three reefs until the morning.

Now the winds have calmed down considerably. We’ve given up on a strong position but we are still chasing every little gust of wind and now struggling to make it into St George’s before 14:00 tomorrow. That’s when the immigration office closes and without clearance we don’t think we will be allowed to step off the boat until Sunday morning… Given that, we just had to run the parasailor last night even though it meant reefing and hoisting at least once an hour when another squall approached. We are likely to opt for the same setup tonight. The kids are not so fond of the late afternoon arrival and are coming up with all sorts of creative ideas on how to get the boat to go faster 🙂

We’ve just enjoyed the last sunset on foredeck for this crossing and milestone of the adventure. Dance stop with water hose showers to the beats of the Tortuga song. We’re almost in the Caribbean, 130 NM to go – tomorrow we’ll have rum punch and champagne!

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