Sitting in the cockpit, I grab the three quarter inch Dacron Genoa sheet to keep from rolling off the seat. When a puff hits, the force is so great I can literally feel the huge line stretch and thin in the palm of my hand.
We are twenty miles off Fort Meyers beach on the first day of Country Dancers trip around the world. And what a first day it has been! As I write this, it is midnight and dark as sin, no moon and the only horizon is the faint glow from Ft Meyers. Before dark, we could see the huge waves that were sliding up from behind us and rolling us from ear to ear, but now they simply strike, and we hold on. Jodi is trying to get some sleep on the other seat in the cockpit,and Rio is cuddled in my lap. He doesnt like rolling around either.
This weather was supposed to let up some by now, but I have seen our speed hit 9.6kts and then a minute or two later, 9.7. For a boat that needs all of her 75 turbocharged diesel horsepower to reach 8.5kts, just think how much force is being generated by those sails, and transferred by a braided piece of dacron line. And this is with two reefs in the main and only enough jib out to keep us from broaching in the rollers. Even so, we are booming through the pitch black night like a freight train with no brakes.
Did I mention the waves….
As we rattle around the cockpit, my head is about 8 feet above the ocean. Many of the waves hitting us block out the horizon as they pass, meaning they are more than 8ft high. Nasty, steep waves. The kind that roll under you swinging the bow to the left and then pitching it back to the right just in time for the next nasty to grab you and start the sickening wallow again.
We are about five degrees off course, but I will correct for this at daybreak when I can at least see the sails.
Well we needed a shake down befor crossing the Atlantic. If Dancer can hold together for tonight, she might just be ready for the crossing.
Warp Factor nine Mr. Solo!
Summary: Slip 37, ABC marina, Maderia Beach to anchor drop in Key West
203 miles and 32hours. Leg one complete. The video does not do this one justice.