Friday, February 3, 2012

700 miles upwind

They say "gentlemen don't sail to weather". Well, for a little more than a week, I was certainly not a gentleman. We left Pestel on the 18 and sailed, motored, motor sailed around the south peninsular of Haiti to reach Cap Tiburon but did not find wind and had to wait until Vaca Island to start sailing. In the meantime, we got tossed around quite violently by choppy seas and no wind. Then we sailed for a little while roughly until Jacmel. The wind died again and we started motoring. Not for long. The motor died with all fuel lines clogged with thick and large particles of algaes.
Brother Flaco came to the rescue and cleaned up everything real well which gave us time to reach Cabo Rojo (close to the border between Haiti and Dominican Republic) where the wind came back and we started tacking, hoping to reach Punta Salinas.
But Dr Murphy was still with us, and we soon got caught in a fishing net, which 6 foot seas and 20 knots of wind, and we were drifting at around 2 knots, towards the shore, of course. We managed to fish the lines, which I thought were caught in the rudder, as it happened off Port Elizabeth in South Africa, using the dinghy anchor. Eventually we freed ourselves and resumes tacking, practically all the way to Boca Chica which we reached on the 22nd shortly before noon.
It was time to recover, clean again the Racor filter, clear the line from the propeller (not the rudder), have a nice dinner and a few beers, and we left Boca Chica on the 24th morning, thinking that we were sailing towards San Juan.
But again, we kept beating into the wind, and after several exchanges of email with Bill Butler in San Juan, we decided to call into Ponce first, and then, hearing that there were no space available due to the boat show in Ponce, we called into Puerto Real on the 26, happy to have a shorter distance to cover, and happy to get into a very well sheltered bay. But before getting there, we still had to satisfy Dr Murphy one more time by having the genoa halyard break. Fortunately, we had a spare halyard in place and we could quickly get the genoa back up.

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