The Wind At Your Back
Mar 18, 2009
|Current location: Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera, Bahamas
Current weather: High in the low 80’s, cloudy – good wind!
Favorite boat name seen recently: Doodlebug - a boat we crossed paths with on March 14. They were completing a 6-year circumnavigation that had started in Ft. Lauderdale on March 17 and were aiming to be back exactly on March 17. It was neat to talk to them (on the VHF). He offered some fascinating brief insights into their journey; my favorite was the answer to his question “What is the most important thing your wife/partner can do on the boat?” The answer: “Go with you”.
The Irish blessing says “may the wind be always at your back”, and indeed that is something we have heard fairly often as we have traveled. But it turns out that in sailing the wind at your back (truly just behind you) is a tricky point of sail. It means that it is easy to jibe (or have the mainsail and boom swing – hard - to the opposite side of the boat). It can be dangerous and scary when that happens. And it puts lots of pressure on the sail.
On Sunday, sailing from Little San Salvador to the bottom of Eleuthera we experienced this first hand. The wind behind us meant we had to continually turn the boat slightly left, then right, to keep the sails under control. I was able to keep the boat from jibing, but the strong forces of the wind finally tore our mainsail. That was a sobering moment. For the rest of that sail, we depended on the front sail (genoa) and though it was a bit slower, the wind has been so strong and steady that we did just fine. That evening we had an opportunity to stay in a marina (they are few and far between in this part of the Bahamas) and we decided to do so to assess our spare mainsail, and continue our recovery from some dysentery – it turns out that drinking untreated water from the well is NOT a good thing to do. A night at the marina was a good idea.
Among other things, we learned there about the tailor/upholsterer in the next town (Rock Sound). We reached Rock Sound on Monday and by Tuesday the sail was fixed! He did a wonderful job - giving our sail a distinctive look (with a fluorescent lime green stripe - the only patching sail fabric he had). In fact, he also made some adjustments to our spare main, so that is ready to be a back up if we should need it in the future. As an added plus we LOVED the little community of Rock Sound. In general, Eleuthera has been my favorite spot in the Bahamas. I will be sorry to leave here.
1. First rainsquall today and it happened while sailing. It was really our FIRST rain! It was heavy and windy but over quickly. We were grateful to get the salty coating off the boat. We could see the dark cloud off to the starboard side and knew we couldn’t get to our destination in time. Warwick reefed the main (made it a bit shorter), took in the genoa, and we sailed (at over 7 knots at times) with just the small staysail and reefed main. It was exciting – and great to get wet with lovely fresh water.
2. We invited Pryde and Tradition for dinner – and made a wonderful vegetarian, no-refrigeration dinner for the six of us. It was great fun! Harvey, Lily, Guy and Laurine have been another great group to travel with.
3. We spent a day at an Atlantic Ocean beach yesterday. It hardly seemed like the ocean – it was amazingly clear and sparkling – like swimming pool water. Nothing like swimming at the New Jersey shore!