A PERIPATETIC JOURNEY
not all who wander are lost
Passage to Bonaire
When we had done all the essential boat work (there is always some nonessential boat work, i.e. things needing to be fixed, installed, or replaced that do not immediately threaten safety or comfort, left on the to do list), we decided it was time to leave. The weather looked favorable for our 2-3 day passage to Bonaire, so we left the dock on the afternoon of November 5.
Once we were out of the harbor, we raised the main and unfurled the new screecher. Although the winds were light, we moved right along under our new sail. With the wind behind the beam, the motion of the waves caused the boom to swing back and forth, banging in an annoying way (and alarming to Kendall, who worries, usually unnecessarily, about the boat breaking). Soon we dropped the main to stop its banging, leaving the screecher up to move us along. It turns out the main wasn’t really helping as we didn’t lose much speed without it.
And speed us along, it did. We alternated between sailing with the screecher (on a furler) and the asymmetrical spinnaker (dousing sock). The spinnaker is a fair bit larger than the screecher so it is faster, but dousing it (getting it down and in the bag) can be challenging if the wind comes up. To be conservative, we have only used the spinnaker during the day so far. It was an absolutely wonderful downwind sail. Actually, this was our first significant downwind sail after more than 4,000 miles of sailing this boat! We found ourselves traveling at much faster speeds than we were accustomed to with our standard sails. We quickly realized that our boat polars (estimated boat speeds for a ranges of wind speeds and angles) that we had been using in our weather routing software needed to be updated for the new sails. We use the software (Predict Wind) to estimate passage times and optimal routes given the weather forecast we download from our slow satellite connection. We left Grenada in order to time a morning arrival in Bonaire. But because our new sails were so much better for downwind sailing, we were soon way ahead of schedule and realized we would arrive in the middle of the night. We do not like the idea of coming into a new place in the dark so we we’d have to slow way down. In this case it meant that instead of 8-10 knots we had been making, we would have to slow down to ~4-5 knots for the last stretch. How painful to not use such great wind!
We saw the lights of Bonaire around 0400 and sailed around the southeastern tip of the island around 0530. As the sun rose behind Kralendijk, we sailed slowly toward the mooring field. Using our Delorme InReach satellite tracking device (this is what generates the map on our main page), we had kept in touch with our friends on SV Maple throughout the passage. They kindly put a “taken” bouy on the mooring ball next to them so the families could be close to each other. We hailed them on the VHF as we approached Kralendijk and Darryl generously launched his dinghy to hand us the mooring lines as we approached. Within minutes we were swimming in the AMAZING water and the girls were waking up the anchorage with their excited greetings.
Happy New Year McGlynns! Best wishes from Carrie, Jim and Jake in West Lafayette IN.
Great to hear from you! Happy 2018 to you as well!
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McGlynn family 5 (Isla, Marin, Eoin, Kendall, and Brian) sailing Counting Stars
DeLorme InReach map