Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Passage from Grenada to Trinidad

90 miles and 16 hours later, we made it to the shores of Trinidad!
We have arrived in Trinidad!...After a fantastic four days of Grenada exploration with my dad and Uncle Tom, we set off from Grenada bound for Trinidad at 5:30pm on Monday night.  The weather forecast wasn't ideal, winds were predicted to be in the low to mid twenties (we prefer to leave for long passages in forecasted winds of 15 knots or less if possible because almost always winds are higher than predicted) and seas were estimated to be eight to ten feet.  We turned to our weather guru, Chris Parker, who told us that conditions would be moderating as the week progressed and the later we could wait, the better.  Being that Tom and my dad were flying out on Wednesday, Monday evening was the latest we could leave.  We readied Rasmus and prepared for what was sure to be a fast and bumpy ride.

Just as we were pulling out of the slip our engine made a bizarre noise.  Everyone looked alarmed.  "That's not right" Scott said.  We all knew it.  Please don't let this be a serious problem I hoped silently.  Scott tried the engine in reverse again. The noise grew worse.  "Tie the boat back up" Scott ordered.  We did.  It was investigation time and we were burning up daylight.  "Something is probably around the prop" I suggested.  Scott and our friend Felix went down to check the prop shaft.  It was then that Felix's girlfriend, Louisa, noticed the marina's Mediterranean mooring leader line... going right under our boat. Bingo.   Not the worst thing in the world - a line around the propeller could be fixed quickly - but not the most auspicious beginning either.

Knowing we were already slightly behind schedule (we were hoping to leave at 4pm) and not wanting to wait for the marina diver, Scott jumped in the water with a knife and got to work.  Fifteen minutes later we were free to go, and quietly backed out of what had been our "home" for the past seven months.  It was sad to say goodbye - but we were ready to leave and knowing that we'll be back next November made it just a little bit easier.

As we left the marina, the light of day was slipping quickly down the horizon and as Grenada gifted us one last sunset, we raised our sails and headed south on a beam reach.  We shut off the engine didn't turn it back on until we entered Boca de Manos on the way into Chaguramas Bay.  As predicted, once we were out of the lee of the island the seas kicked up and the wind built to over twenty knots.  We were flying under full jib and double-reefed main and averaged just under six knots the entire night.  The seas were bumpy and the boat pitched and lurched wildly but sailed well.  Thankfully, the guys let me be the "floater"- and being such, I didn't have to stand watch but remained available if necessary.  I hunkered down in the v-berth and hoped to God I didn't no into labor.  Baby girl endured a WILD ride!

Sixteen hours and ninety miles later we arrived, slightly bruised and battered, into Port of Spain, Trinidad - guided by a large pod of dolphin.  It's incredible how exhausting sailing through the night can be - especially when conditions require physical and mental concentration and hand steering (our autopilot doesn't do well in wind over 20 knots and seas on the beam).  The boys did a fantastic job keeping Rasmus sailing well, I did a great job of not going into labor, and other than a fat lip on Scott from a rogue glass that went flying through the cabin in the night, the trip was uneventful.

Just call him "Angelina".
After clearing into the country, the four of us clamored onto shore, enjoyed a nice, big meal and crashed.  Hard. It was a well-earned rest!

We have been very warmly welcomed by our new friends and sponsors at Peake's Yacht Services and we know without a shadow of a doubt that we made the right decision coming here.  This is an top-rate facility, with an incredibly accommodating and friendly staff who have already taken excellent care of us - and we haven't even been here 24 hours!  I'm looking forward to telling you more about this great facility...but for now, Scott and I are enjoying the benefits of having a nice, airconditioned hotel room for a night!

PS.  If you want to see some great photos of the past five days with my dad and Uncle Tommy - please check out our latest album on Facebook!

1 comment:

Carolyn Shearlock said...

Add to list for that "next boat" -- wind vane steering! With both your racing backgrounds, you'll get the hang of it easily. And you can hook up a tiller pilot to it for times when there's no wind. While lots of cruisers get frustrated with wind vanes, everyone who's a racer and understands how to balance the helm loves them. We used our Monitor FAR more than our big hydraulic autopilot . . .

We hand-steered 12+ hours a day on one charter in Christmas Winds in the BVI and KNEW we had to have self-steering when we bought a boat! Luckily, Que Tal came with THREE systems -- Monitor, TMQ hydraulic (Australian) and a wheel pilot. Wheel pilot was useless!

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