Back to Jamaica – 22nd May
If I had to take root anywhere in the world this would probably not be my first choice, but here we are again. Our intended departure date was yesterday, and with all of the weather information we gathered we figured we would be alright – a few squalls to go through but in general not too bad, in fact for the next couple of days almost no wind according to one of the weather sites we check on the internet.
So we left at 11.00am, took a shit kicking for a couple of hours under dark menacing skies, in 30 – 35kn winds gusting over 40kn, rain so heavy we could only see a couple of hundred yards, so heavy that it was knocking the white caps off the 10 foot waves which were pummeling us abeam. We were sailing though under double reefed main and genoa for about half an hour, then we reefed the genoa a couple of times, kept going for about 10 miles, now down to just the reefed main, the occasional wave seemed to get up to about 15 feet, and neither of our steering systems was going to work. I was almost paralyzed by the prospect of having to hand steer on my watches in these conditions – and we still had the option of turning around knowing we would get back in to Port Antonio in the daylight, so that’s what we did. Tony asked if I wanted to turn around, and I said yes with no reservations. We got back in and were tied up by 3.00pm
Oh! I forgot that we were also sailing under the accompaniment of booming thunder and lightning right overhead.
Good news is that Tony and Hans (Guns) worked on our SSB radio and now have it working, which means that we can now subscribe to a weather router, which we did without hesitation this morning. It’s a bit expensive but we are hoping it will cut down on the wear and tear on the boat and our spirits.
According to Chris Parker the conditions between Jamaica and Hispaniola are very nasty right now and will improve in about a week. Then we should be able to get through the windward passage in light wind. We might have to hang out in Turks and Caicos for a bit waiting for the trade winds to fill in again to take us up to Bermuda.We’re alright with that – we really are sick of hard sailing, we want some easy stuff