I'm not sure what happened but I was in the middle (okay really the start) of a review and then I lost
it. Maybe something to do with my high tech wireless mouse. Who knows. Anyway, I apologize if it showed up somewhere else. I looked, but couldn't find where I started.
We just returned Saturday night from a one week charter
in the Bahamas
. We went with Navtours out of Nassau
. We chartered a 35' 1997 Beneteau
for approximately $2300 all in for seven nights. We headed down to the Exumas
. Overall it was pretty great!
The boat: the 'New Liverpool', dinghy davits
, roller furling
panel for refrigeration
. Two cabins. Sleeps four. We were just a couple and used the forward cabin
for a great walk-in closet.
It was just the two of us because this was our first charter
since our Live-Aboard-Cruising course in the BVI.
First off in no particular order:
We realized there was a huge amount of information that we didn't know...
We re-read our Sailing book several times en-route trying to reaffirm what we're supposed to do when...but it really didn't help much. Trying to figure out which reach/run our sails
should be set at in any particular point of sail we were at.... the truism that no particular set of sail trim will work for every boat became apparent to us. We learned that we had to know our own boat to figure this out.
Navtours has a 'Flotilla' service
that is automatically included in the charter. We originally thought we'd branch off on our own but soon realized our lack of knowledge/skills meant we'd follow that 'mothership' like baby ducks. We struggled. For several days. Trying to get our self furling
main and full genoa
to give us more than seven knots to keep up with the rest of the flotilla. In total, we were five boats. We were the smallest at 35'. The next up was a 39' which also had the only other roller furler
main. We constantly struggled to keep up with the flotilla. Thinking we didn't have the right sail trim. We always lagged behind. I found it pretty stressful. Doubting my knowledge. We always had that damn Basic Cruising Skills book open. Trying to eke out some more speed.
On the last day, when we got back to dock
we spoke with the owner of our boat and he said that 6 knots was the typical max that 'Liverpool' would make. With her self-furling main. The only time when we made over seven knots without a huge amount of effort was when we were skimming through the 'yellow banks' at 7.4 knots. Sailing solo with husband on the bow, I couldn't slow us down through the banks. I wanted to slow us down before we got into the banks by reducing sail. Based on what we were doing the past six days I thought we had way too much sail up. Then I realized, truly came to understand, that seven knots is not so fast at all.
Husband was not supportive of my concern about the (excessive) heeling. Mildly interested in what I thought was weather helm
. Could I have read too much about having too much sail? Am I just a chicken? Just to clarify, my husband is not the driving force behind this sailing adventure. It is me. Although he also participated in the Learn to Cruise
course, he doesn't spend any extra time researching sailing or sailboats or the sailing life. He's happy to raise/tighten the sheets
as I see fit this whole time. He's thrilled that we're passing other boats. I can't figure it out. Do we really just finally have the sails
trimmed properly. Just four hours earlier he wants to go into 'blue' water
by going through the cuts and heading east of Exumas
like the flotilla captain
suggested. Eventually I figured out instead of 'silently objecting' by being pissed at my mate that I should have just said that I'm not ready for the water
sailing">blue water sailing. Fortunately, the flotilla Captain
also decided the seas were too heavy for heading out to sea... And I already thought we were 'out at sea'.
Once that adrenaline rush hit me I should have said something about the other side of the Bahamas
. I really can't imagine how I would have felt out there. I was already stressed about not keeping up. Thinking I didn't know anything about anything.
Ignorance is bliss.
I wish I was the passenger. Or maybe even just the Mate. In fact, although I was thinking of giving this whole cockamamey idea of sailing up ON DAY TWO, I kept watching the passengers on the other flotilla boats.... Sitting on the bow of their boats... only responsible for letting down a bumper... strategically positioned by their captain.
Really... On day two... I was looking forward to going home. Bit off more than I can chew. I can't do this. I can't tell my partner the exact right thing to do. And get us where we're going the right way. I'm not even certain if safety
was my main concern. How can I do this if I can't even figure out how to keep up.
That damn roller furling
main on a 35' boat. I'm not even sure if that was why we had to fidget with the sails to get more than 6 knots. Just to fall behind the rest of the flotilla.
was fabulous! 15-20 knot
northeasterly winds, so I'm told. Windspeed on the boat was broken. It felt more than that through the Yellow Banks but I don't know. Mostly sunny. Cool sailing (sweater) enroute with jackets in the evening. My husband went snorkling. The wind
was too strong for me with the cool water because a wet cold head
gives me a headache. Especially on the dinghy
The water was absolutely amazing! Really, those travel magazine azure blues. The never ending shallow incredible blue-greens that make you ache for vacation
from the cold.
Navtours is based out of Quebec
but has bases worldwide. With four other boats in the flotilla, French was the main language. They tried to speak english
but often forgot. Most radio
traffic was incomprehensible although we thought we had fairly good french. Too much slang.
By day five, I think I was mostly enjoying myself. Really it was just too much work for me. I don't know if it was just not knowing what we were doing or if it was too small a boat with too small main sail.
In hindsight, if we'd been on our own maybe we wouldn't have felt the way we did. Maybe we really are clueless. Maybe there is way more to this than I thought. Maybe it is rocket science. Frustrating.
But I'm looking forward to the next trip. Shortly after docking
in the marina on the last day I though maybe I'm not up for this. A few hours later though, I was thinking of the next boat, maybe a traditional main. Maybe just on our own with no schedule, nobody to keep up with. Hmm.
I'm pretty sure I learned a lot. I'm just not sure if it applies to everything.
Your thoughts/comments would really be appreciated at this point....