High Noon on the Moon (That's La Luna to You)
Slofter wly We Sail, Knot by Knot

Downwind Sailing

It ain't what it's cracked up to be.


When we started out from Tenerife and had to go south, I bitched because EW had promised me an easy downwind sail like the one he had enjoyed on S/V Bear in 2008, and instead we sailed south almost to the Cape Verde Islands. (EW says he didn't promise -- he raised my expectations, but didn't promise. Sounded like a promise to me.)

Now we have wonderful trade winds, directly from the east and could easily lay our line to Guadeloupe. But man, is it noisy and bouncy and ugly going downwind in 15-20 knots in these seas. (By the way, EW stopped me from saying "knots per hour", evidently a knot is a nautical mile per hour so if someone - like me - says "5 knots per hour" it's as if someone were saying "5 miles per hour per hour". Who knew?)

Back to the task at hand -- sailing to Guadeloupe -- I've had trouble sleeping, which increased the bitch factor, and EW wisely decided to gybe the main and staysail and head off the wind, where we continue to move at 5.5-6.5 knots, just not exactly in the right direction. We are heading to Guyana...again. But I slept. Oh, I slept so well. La Luna loves to reach off the wind. We still bounce and roll a bit, and there is still some noise - sailing is not a silent endeavor - but this is so much more comfortable, and most of the more extreme rolls are to starboard, and therefore the motion is more predictable.

The down side is that it would take us nearly twice as long to gybe back and forth to Guadeloupe, so we have decided to gybe tomorrow, heading more north, until we reach the rhumb line when I'll put on my big girl panties, suck it up, and we'll head dead down wind to our mark. I have a fantasy that the waves abate a bit by then. Or maybe the wind will shift just a tad south of east. It's more likely that I'll learn to sleep in sloppy seas. At least I'll be fully rested before we make the last turn to Guadeloupe.

As of 1731 UTC on Tuesday (which is now 3:30 La Luna time) we were located at North 16 degrees 53.50 minutes and West 39 degrees 29.69 minutes.


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