Friday, September 25, 2015

Tough Gulf Crossing

Mike at the top of the mast. Dog Island, Fl

We checked, checked and rechecked the Gulf weather forecasts from every source available to us before crossing from Clearwater to Carrabelle. The forecasts all said the same thing, nearly perfect weather for our crossing. We sailed out of Clearwater hoping to arrive at Dog Island late the next day. Good plan, right?

We alternated between sailing and motoring for the first 11 hours enjoying some great 12-15 knot winds for long stretches. The sunset was beautiful, but a gray cloud in the distance didn't look promising. Unfortunately all the weather pundits missed something, because we ran into a nasty storm after dark that pretty much kicked our butts. Wrinkles proved herself that night by taking care of us in the wind and waves. At one point during the worst part of the storm Brenda asked Mike if he wanted a break at the wheel and and he responded, "No, Wrinkles and I are bonding right now."

The next morning we sailed under bare poles as the wind was plenty strong to move Wrinkles along without any sails up. Wierd to be sailing that way. The waves kept coming, but as day broke the wind finally abated to the point we could hoist the headsail and make headway. We sailed all morning until our heading forced us to run the Yanmar to motor sail.

The sun was shining and the weather was ideal for 360 degrees. Perfect, we'll be anchor down before too long. Good plan, right? We could see our destination about 2-3 hours ahead of us when another eerily similar gray cloud broke out over the entire area in front of us. Who did we piss off in the weather world?

Yup, another nasty, windy night off shore to look forward to. Once again Wrinkles faithfully protected us as we killed time waiting for morning and hopefully a break in the weather. At 7 a.m. we headed in the direction of our anchorage after getting almost no sleep for the previous 2 days. The motor sail was rolly in the leftover waves, but we landed in the protection of little Dog Island and dropped our anchor. Mike slept from 8 pm to 10:30 am the next day.

Brenda's turn next? I don't think so!

Dog Island is very primitive and quiet. We cleaned up the boat a little and then investigated our mainsail issue. During the storm the winds managed to jam the main halyard which we use to raise the sail. Although we were still exhausted, we knew we needed to have that sail ready for use if another storm comes our way. We pulled out the Mastmate mast climbing system and Mike climbed the mast. We got the halyard working again and called it a day.

Tomorrow we will move to a marina in Carrabelle for a short relaxing stay.

Thank you Wrinkles for being such a good caretaker.


1 comment:

  1. OMG ! I was feeling pretty proud of myself because on our last sail I had the helm while we were heeling going 5 knots with a few white caps. That certainly pales in comparison to your trip. I'm so glad you both are ok.