Headed for Calm Waters!
Friday was a calm, almost flat day and the crew enjoyed a swim in the ocean and a fresh fish fry with homemade slaw and chips. Good thing we enjoyed the day because Saturday we woke to markedly rougher seas and knew that we were in a race to head to shore to avoid a storm that we had been tracking for days. We also knew that we were not going to hit the mark our weather routing expert had suggested for us. We knew we were in for a few hours of rough weather.
Seas were status quo through the day on Saturday, but as we began our night shift squalls were popping up and the weather was turning. On my shift we had two squalls come thru with about 30 knots of wind which easily blew us off course. While we had prepared for the night with 2 reefs in the main sail, I also reefed the jib to keep the boat balanced during the squalls. I wanted to correct our course as soon as possible, but I also wanted to avoid the 600 foot cargo ship that was poised to pass in front of us. Usually we can see the cargo ships at night at about 12 miles out, but the stormy conditions significantly decreased our visibility and I knew that I wanted the cargo ship to pass us at least 5 miles off our bow. I avoided turning up until the ship passed, and then worked to get us on course despite radical wind shifts caused by squalls. By the time Blair came to the helm to relieve me of my shift, I was ready for his assistance in getting the boat moving and on course. By this time the seas were building and just as we began to settle into a rhythmic motion, we had a massive wave crash over the bow and the entire helm
station. We were now seeing the weather we were hoping to avoid.
By 1:30 am Ian took the helm, while Joan, Brian and I hung out in the main salon. Luckily our kids were cozy in their bunks and slept thru night. Winds stayed about 25 knots and were not the problem. It was the sea state and building of waves that pounded us for 8 hours. I am happy to report that Whiffle and our crew handled the conditions perfectly.
By 9 am on Sunday we had finally reached shore and dropped the hook in Southport, NC. We enjoyed hot showers, brunch at a local restaurant, refueled, topped off with water, and did loads of laundry. While I had hoped we could make the passage without any stops, our layover in NC was necessary. The seas on Sunday were predicted to be 10-12 feet and keeping our crew safe and comfortable is the priority. Even more decadent was that we all had a restful sleep Sunday night and are refreshed and ready to set sail for Maine.