Saturday, October 22, 2011

Over due update:

A lot has happened since our last post, but sailing the North Atlantic was not one of them.

Act one: the attempt.
We cast off as planned around 9:30 last Saturday morning. It was a sunny and windy day. We made good time getting out of Mahone bay. Filing just a jib sail we were pulling nearly eight knots. Unfortunately for us the wind was coming from southwest (exactly the direction we wished to go). For the first while I was running the tiller and as we past the last few islands the sea was lively. At first it was really fun to ride up the waves and sled down the other side. There was lots of spray and it was very exhilarating! Rick had not put his sea sickness patch on the night before and he was down in the cabin finishing the last of his work before we got far enough away to loose all cell service. When he came up to the cockpit he was feeling a little queazy so he took the tiller. I went below to put on another sweater and grab a snack. This was a mistake. Despite following the instructions on the sea sickness patch I got sick. Really sick. Soon after Dave went below deck. Shortly afterwards he joined me hanging of the life lines. The further we got the more it continued. Bigger waves from every direction,we all felt pretty sick. Me the worst. I'm a pretty big wuss in general but this experience I found really debilitating. Actually, thats an understatement, I was a sniveling useless mess. We all sat there holding on not talking much. All I could think was, how will we survive this for 10 days? In these conditions it would be impossible to make food or sleep and thank goodness none of us needed to poop. At some point Dave made the call to turn back. I'd like to think it was mainly based on the fact that we were headed the wrong direction (were were headed SE, because we could not go SW into the wind) but the truth is it probably had a lot to do with the low crew morale the followed six hours of puking. We turned back. Sailing with the wind was far smoother, Dave and Rick felt better fairly quickly, I continued to be sick and whiny all the way back to the bay. It was dark then we moored infront of the Welsford house. Dave was less than halfway through his hot chocolate when he announced his plan to try again as soon as possible. Rick agreed it was the proper thing to do. I was terrified.

Act two. waiting.
Deciding the the main force working against us was attempting to leave on a day when there was a gale force wind was coming directly against us. Dave and Rick set to looking at the forecasts and trying to decide when to try again. Looking like it would be atleast a week until the winds changed to northerly, I left Mahone bay to go a spend sometime with my family who I haven't seen much of over the last 6 or 7 months. I told the Welsfords I would be back on Friday.

When I showed up I found Lizzy Belle out of the water sitting in the hard for repairs. Apparently Dave had suspicion that some sort of valve may be rotting out of the bottom due to installing it with the wrong type of hardware (I should have asked more details about this). Turns out he was right, and the piece came off in his hand when he started pulling at it. By the time I showed up the boat was fixed and ready to be put back in the water, but they guys did still not have a plan. There was talk of trying the straight to Bermuda route again, but the forecasts were still not cooperating. There was talk of going down the coast but the shadow side of this is that it could take well over a month.

With no real plan other than "going nowhere at least for another week". I was beginning to worry for Dave, he has put so much of himself and his money into the boat and his only plan has always been to get somewhere warm so he could live on her for the winter.

Act three. a new plan
Finally a new plan with real dates emerged. Rick has struck a good deal on having the Lizzy Belle shipped to the Dominican Republic. The plan is now to fly down to the Dominican meet the boat then sail from island to island in temperate waters. I'm really pleased for Dave that he will get to achieve the dream of living on Lizzly Belle all winter. I'm really pleased for me that I don't have to endure the seasickness of the North Atlantic again for awhile. The boat won't arrive in the Dominican until December. I had planned on being away Oct-January so for me the timeline of the trip has now become complicated. I may have to look for a place to live and start working again....

Dave will continue the adventure and get to live his dream, if you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a small sailboat in the Caribbean with the most adventurous person you've ever met. Stay tuned to Dave's future updates of this blog!

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