Friday, April 25, 2008

Crossing the Gulf Stream

Sailing from the tip of the Yucatan peninsula to Key West was four days of sailing to wind. Most of the time we tried to stay 30 to 35 degrees off the wind. Think of tacking back and forth in August between Sausalito and Marine Park for four days with each tack lasting 12 hours. At times we had 25 knot winds and it was tough to sleep. Even Marzen appears to be sleep deprived.

Last night we crossed the Gulf Stream. The wind from the NE and an opposite current. There was some big waves. I finally gave up on the autopilot and started to hand steer to try and lessen the impact of the waves. I swear we'd hit a 20' wave square on and the front half of the boat would be free falling off the back of the wave. It was awesome, loud, wet, and created a lot of adrenaline. I have a whole lot of respect for the Gulf Stream now.

The upside of four days head on to the wind is that nothing major broke and it pointed out improvements that should be made prior to crossing the Atlantic. It was in every sense a real shake down cruise.

Thump, thump, crash... Repeat.

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