It's all Downhill

Wow. It’s hard to believe that the rest of our sailing will involve very little wind forward of the beam. It’s going to be almost all downwind.

We’ve literally spent 12,000+ miles sailing from a beam to close reach. In many way’s we’ve become accustomed to this type of sailing…and have actually enjoyed pushing ourselves to master these points of sail on Field Trip.

Points of Sail
We’ve tried most sail combinations, worked on using our Code Zero for close hauled sailing – and have enjoyed creating our own apparent wind to go faster.

Now, it’s a different ballgame. We find ourselves reducing our apparent wind as we go faster, relying on stronger prevailing conditions to make us go as fast as we could if sailing the other direction in less true wind. Cruising is not about fast. I need to get that into my head….

Sailing 'Wing on Wing'
Wing on Wing view from Trampoline
Boat motion sailing downwind is generally calmer than sailing the other direction. But this is not always the true. Case and point – our sail this week from Grenada to Bonaire.

The first day we had VERY sloppy seas, with swells coming from different directions. Ugh. This caused the boat to yaw hard to port and then hard to starboard – at unpredictable periods. Michael almost NEVER gets seasick (only once in two years), lost his cookies twice. Elizabeth lost them once. It was not a very pleasant start to our downhill sailing. We actually found ourselves ‘almost’ wishing we were sailing the other direction. Almost. In the same conditions (we had 18-22kts – 2-2.5 meter confused seas) sailing the other way would have been miserable. In reality, we would never have left port sailing on a close reach with those conditions – but down wind, I figured the more wind the better (grin).

Our Buddy Boat Tulu sailing wing on wing - at times we could only see salon windows due to swells
Things settled down on day two, and it was much better. We flew the parasailor every day, and snuffed it at night. It was nice to not worry about reefing in 25kts of true. We just sailed. Our fastest speed was 15.5 kts in a squall of 28kts. The boat literally took off from 8kts to almost twice her speed. WOW, almost a little scary.

Field Trip with our Parasailor
Seas got a little confused again on day 3, but we managed to do a lot better and arrived safely to Bonaire.

Our high level plans take us island hopping from Bonaire to Curacao, Aruba, Colombia and then Panama. We plan on going through the Panama canal early February – our gateway to the Pacific and to a new chapter in our sailing.

Thanksgiving Dinner - Captain Don's Bonaire!


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