Bahamas to North Carolina

Skylark’s crew, Gene and Bob. Gene has considerable sailboat racing experience and he taught me a tremendous amount about sail trim on the trip. Bob is new to sailing but did great.   Here they are studying the navigation chart.  

Gene, Bob and I at the dock in Green Turtle Cay during final preparations.   

Here’s our GPS track from the eastern Abacos to North Carolina.  The X isn’t significant .    Just under 500 nautical miles, 3 days 14 hours.  Phenomenal time for little Skylark. The distance traveled was actually greater as we didn’t sail a straight line in order to take best advantage of the wind and keep the motion of the boat reasonably comfortable. Our best day was 140 miles, our average speed was 5.8kn for entire 84 hours. The first night out we shortened sail considerably for fear of squalls and averaged around 4.5kn. Steering was handled by the Monitor wind vane which performed flawlessly. We were almost 3 days on starboard tack sailing a broad reach in varying wind strengths mostly around 20-25 with waves around 5-7′. We only hit one squall of consequence which packed sustained winds of 35kn, the vane handled that well too. Skylark was amazing. It was as if she knew exactly what to do, complained if we didn’t set the sails properly and happily romped over the waves when we did.

It did get a little wet. Well, it got really wet.  When Skylark slid down the face of a wave, occasionally there was another wave coming from a different direction that partially fell into the very rear of the low side of the cockpit as we hit the bottom of the trough.  

We got lax on the watch schedule and didn’t keep to the 3 hours on and 6 off that we agreed on.  As skipper I should have insisted on following this, I think it would have been less tiring for everyone.

For the next extended trip I’ll plan simpler meals.  I was overly ambitious about cooking underway, I tried once and went flying across the cabin.  For all the safety gear we have on deck I had never given any thought to safety inside the cabin besides the existing hand holds and lee cloth.

The crew also requested speakers outside in the cockpit so they can listen to music on those night watches.

I’ll also give more thought to how to stay dry….

In the dark, we tied up to the dock next to the marina instead of the marina dock. I jumped off the boat to reconnoiter, didn’t see the missing dock boards and took a plunge. Gratefully I only injured my pride.  Very anticlimactic.

We had an awesome trip, Skylark performed flawlessly and Chris Partner’s weather forecasts were spot on.

Delayed

There have been heavy squalls along our route and along the Florida Georgia coast so we’ve delayed departure another day. We had a great sail back to Green Turtle Cay today though. Hopefully we leave Thursday morning.