So, I’m in this altered state – and then 3 ships show up almost at the same time. I’m sure their radar and AIS (Automated Identification System) were wondering what the hell is going on here … this boat is flying past us and can’t hold a steady course. Around that point, with the wind shifting 10 degrees back and forth, I finally called “Chicken!” – and decided I’d best roll up the A5.
I’m not sure where the upper limits are with these chutes yet, and whether the limit is the boat or me, but they are buggers to roll at 20 knots. But, I made the argument to myself, “Hey, you’re tired, it’s blowing 25, you’re sailing at 15 knots, there’s 3 ships after you, two more on the radar and three light blips on the horizon … and you donâ€™t know if you can get this thing rolled up? Good time, I’d say to give it a try! And if you can’t, well, we can figure out how to bail out of here, because hitting a freighter is NOT on the bucket list!”
Well, I got it rolled up all fine, and commenced sailing under the mainsail alone at 9-10 knots – until I got past those freighters.
65 miles to West Palm. Right now, I’m seeing 8 freighters around me. I’ve figured out that this is a staging area, and they’re all just sitting here … moving a couple of knots in one direction or another … so even more important NOT to hit one. My friend Alan would never let me live that down … “You hit a freighter that wasn’t moving!?”
So … half a can of coke and two cookies to get me through the next few miles and into clearer water. Really … how much fun can one guy have?!
A DAY LATERÂ - As I write this, Iâ€™m mid-way through the Providence Passage that separates the Northern and Southern Bahamas. This is a highly trafficked area, as commercial ships and private vessels travel through it to open ocean and down to where I came from or across the Atlantic. After the excitement of last night, the day passed fairly uneventfully except for a couple of cruise liners passing. At night and close to port, they generally arenâ€™t moving much as the distance between ports of call for them is short, and so what they typically do is to leave the port around sunset and arrive in the morning, which means finding a calm place to basically â€śfloatâ€ť for the night.
I was sailing through and keeping a pretty good pace, and the ship in front of me seemed to be doing about the same speed. For a few hours, I wasn’t catching up, so I stopped worrying about him. Then things changed, and I began gaining on him quickly. I knew what that meant. They were a cruise ship that had stopped for the night.
As I got closer, I could see the colored lights and soon enough my AIS (Automated Identification System) showed their symbol, and identified the ship as the gigantic “Disney Dream.”
Within a half hour or so, I was sailing past them when all of a sudden, the sky lit up with fireworks!! The explosives shooting up from the upper decks of the Disney Dream only lasted five minutes or so, but I thought … “How thoughtful of them to recognize my passing, and to give me such a grand salute for sailing across the Atlantic alone!”
Laughing inside, I picked up the radio mic and called over to the Disney Dream and thanked them for such a great salute, and how nice it was of them to do that in honor of my long voyage. A few moments later, they replied…“You’re welcome Captain! Glad you enjoyed it!”
So there you have it … as ships … or dreamers … pass in the night â€¦ always a touch of respect! I’ll have to send the captain a note and a Bodacious Dream hat!
DAWNÂ -Â Down to the last few hours of fast sailing here. Crossing from the Bahamas to the Florida coast and then up to West Palm Beach and the Rybovich Marina. I’m right in the Gulf Stream now, which is like a river in the coastal ocean that runs northbound at 3 knots. Because of the wind angle, I have to sail slightly west towards the coast of Florida before IÂ can gybe towards West Palm Beach. If I were to gybe now, at about 20 miles out of Ft. Lauderdale, the current would push me past West Palm Beach. Imagine walking across a treadmill “sideways” â€¦ you go forward and sideways at the same time.
Right now, Iâ€™m sailing at 15 knots of boat speed with the small A5 chute up. Itâ€™s rather exciting, but once I gybe, this will be the clearest indication of the difference between boat speed and speed over the ground. At that time, Iâ€™ll be sailing with the current, so 15 knots of boat speed plus the 3 knots of current and my speed over the ground (not through the water, thatâ€™s still 15) will be 18 knots! Some fun!
Wind speed: 22 knots
Wind Direction: 105 degrees/ south of east
Boat Speed: 11-15
Excitement Level: 12.5
Cookies: All Gone
As always, many thanks for hanging in with me this whole time. Weâ€™re back in home waters now!
- Dave and Bodacious Dream