We are feeling pleased with ourselves and our boat, Sophia, now that we have completed the passage from Oriental, North Carolina, to Marsh Harbor in four days and three nights. We left Wednesday morning, November 10, and arrived on Sunday, the 14th. We sailed with our friends on Seahorse, a Bruce Roberts 43, which ran faster than we could under heavy winds, but slower in light air.
Towards the end of our trip, we encountered 30 knot winds and 10 foot swells, and we both had to reef the sails down to tiny triangles to stay safe.
Sophia handled the challenging conditions beautifully, and Ryan’s meticulous planning and labor made the journey safe and sweet. We wore our life-saving harnesses and clipped into the boat whenever above board, and the Single Side Band (SSB) radio allowed us to keep up with Chris Parker’s weather broadcasts. We spoke to him on our journey, and he encouraged us to hurry on down south, to avoid a cold front and high winds brewing off the coast. Well, we didn’t make it. Southwest winds clocked round to west and then northwest and then when the cold front hit, as we approached the Bahamas, they came strong from the northeast and boiled up the ocean.
The waves tossed Sophia left and right, and we had to employ concentration and, often, significant arm strength to keep the vessel on course.