Dear Friends-We were up at 0400 hours and desperate for news about the election. Somehow, Jeannea was able to get one bar on her cell phone and call her granddaughter in Boston. All she was able to hear was “Trump won” before the connection died. We thought we had heard wrong but Jeannea could not reconnect. Mike pulled out his satellite phone and tried to reach his brother in Virginia. No go. He was able to reach his daughter in Gainesville, Florida, who confirmed the news. We were all stunned as, we suspect, was the rest of the country.
Slowly we came to our senses and prepared to move off our anchor. At first light, we were able to motor out of the bay with a few other boats. The rest of the fleet had an “official” start at 0700. Many of the boats had already left for Cabo.
The trip ESE was with a following sea of about 3-4 feet and highly variable winds of about 6-8 knots. Every boat appeared to be on their engines and all of us were traveling about 6 knots. Consequently, we were pretty much bunched up during the whole trip. As the sun rose higher, the temperature rose over 90 degrees F. We rigged a sun cover and resorted to dipping shirts and towels into the cool ocean to get the “air conditioning effect.”
In the late afternoon, the wind started building slowly until at 12 knots, the Skipper declared that it was time to sail. Melody and Avghi, once again, did an expert job hoisting the Gennaker. We were the first in the fleet to get it going, and because sailors are ALWAYS watching the competition, those who had kites soon followed. I know. I said this was a race/rally/cruise, but the sailors I (Mike) was with would slip into the race mode unconsciously. “We’re moving on him.” “Eat his wind.” “Crush him.” As a newly minted sailor, it was surprising for me to see these very nice women on board Harmony be transported into speed demons bent on the conquest of all the boats in front of them.
We flew the Gennaker for about three hours and achieved a top speed of about 8 knots. This certainly got us closer to our destination and saved fuel in the process. We have enough fuel but it is always nice to develop a larger reserve.
At sundown, we were served Beef Stroganoff that Jeannea made at home and brought on the trip. It was delicious. The first quarter moon was high and at full dark, it was not dark at all. The stars were washed out until the moon set at about 0200 hours. We then had a repeat of the fabulous star encrusted heavens.
Between midnight and 0300 hours, Barbara and Mike were treated to a light extravaganza over the Baja peninsula. We were 18 miles offshore and could easily see a dramatic heat lightning show coming from the massive thunderheads that had built up over the mountains. It went on for hours and was better than any fireworks show.
The seas were 4 feet of long rollers of following seas and about 7 knots of wind all night long. Our Yanmar engine was really getting a workout. We stood our watches in conditions that were quite different from the first three nights. It fills your heart with joy to experience long distance cruising under these conditions.
We are nearing the end and already anticipating how much we will miss this.
Captain Melody, Barbara, Mike, Avghi and Jeannea