Atlantic Crossing Day 19

It took us 18 days, 12 hours, 45 minutes to do what Christopher Columbus famously did during five weeks in the fall of 1492. I am talking, of course, about sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. We can’t claim to have discovered a new world or to have conquered a people during our Atlantic adventure, but we’re happy with our modest accomplishment nonetheless.

Our Atlantic crossing touched almost every human emotion we were capable of. We felt the thrill of sailing away into 2600 mile abyss, panic when essential equipment began failing during our first week, true comradry after completing mid-voyage repairs, exhaustion from consecutive sleepless nights of foul weather, fear when the wind howled to 40 knots, boredom when the wind refused to blow, and pride when we finally saw the silhouette of the French island of Martinique in the distance just a few hours ago.

We leave the Atlantic crossing not free of battle scars. Our mainsail rigging was damaged when the wind caught the wrong side of the sail as we prepared to reef in a big 35 knot squall a few days ago. Sailors will recognize this as the dreaded “accidental jibe”, and we now fully appreciate the desirability of avoiding this violent maneuver under all circumstances. Our autopilot decided to call it quits after two weeks of course corrections in roly-poly conditions – its complete failure now being prevented only by a makeshift rope attachment system. And our toilet now flows the wrong way on occasion, requiring regular disassembly and rebuilding, the details probably only interesting to ultra-keen cruisers… enail me if you want to know more.

Above all this, we’ve been humbled…. again…. by the power of the sea and the wind. We’re sick and tired of being repeatedly humbled week after week, but the lessons we’re learning are necessary ones for the 30,000 miles that still lie ahead. We’ll prove this by never mentioning the words “accidental jibe” again in these pages.

We were lucky beyond words to have Richard and Rupe aboard for this journey – it was mostly luck that led to them being aboard for the crossing this time, not our outstanding planning, but if we can get them aboard Tamarisk for the next crossing it definitely won’t be luck that’s the cause.

It’s time now to prepare for entry into Martinique where Piers, Wendy (mom), and Alina (perhaps our most adventurous friend) are waiting for us – after almost three weeks at sea, it will be a great feeling to finally see them standing on the dock. Even if they’re not on the dock, it’ll still be nice at least to see a dock. Cheers to the three of them for their patience (we’re more than two days late), cheers to Richard and Rupe for their relentless effort and dedication to this journey, and cheers to the dock!