Tuesday, Feb 22, 2022
Latitude 14o 38’ N
Longitude 57o 30’ W
200 nm to St Lucia
At some point last week, when the winds were gale force and the waves slamming the boat from side to side, crew member Dwight Leeper, who’d never been on a small boat in the open ocean before, observed that perhaps he’d read the wrong brochure before signing on. Given his comment, I suspect a day such as today is more like what he had in mind.
The boat still rolls from side to side, but we’ve developed our sea legs sufficiently to make it from one end of the cabin to the other without ending up in someone else’s lap. The sky over head is clear blue with nimbus clouds on the horizon. The water is the shade of baby blue only found when blue water sailing. The waves have calmed down to swells less than a few feet, topped by ripples that occasionally crest to form “white lace lids.” The air temperature is 85 degrees and the water temperature not far behind at 79 degrees. The wind is over our shoulder at a gentle but respectable 15 knots. The helmsman is sitting in the captain’s chair in bare feet and a bathing suit. The Bimini, a stretch of canvas, is spread over the cockpit to protect him from the direct sun. Off the port side we’re towing a fishing line. The rest of the crew is either reading or sleeping. Most conversations now focus on what we’ll do when we get to Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia.
Virtually all the destinations on this circumnavigation of the North Atlantic were not predetermined but rather chosen or modified along the way. Ireland was substituted for the original destination of Mallaig Scotland due to COVID restrictions. The Canary Island were suggested by someone in Killybegs Ireland as a good stopover on the way south. Selecting the Canaries was also a retreat from the more ambitious and time-consuming original plan to sail all the way to Dakar, Senegal. And once the Canaries were a destination, it made sense to stop and resupply in Cape Verde on the way to the Caribbean. The Caribbean was always part of the plan, but the original landfall was to be the island nation of Grenada, because it’s at the bottom of the Leeward and Windward Island chain that stretches from South America to the Virgin Islands. The thought was to sail up the chain, visiting as many of the islands as possible in two months. Instead, we’ve decided to slow down, select the ones that sound most intriguing, and spend more time enjoying the ones we choose.
According to the 2019-2020 Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands, by Chris Hoyle and Lexi Fisher, St. Lucia is an excellent place to start.
According to our chart plotter, which provides updated arrival times based on our current speed, we should arrive in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia by midday on Thursday.
According to our detailed daily meal planner’s spreadsheet, the main meal of the day is to be umbrella drinks.