Monday, June 19, 2017

1982 (5) – Passage to Bermuda

Bermuda - out in the middle of nowhere!

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

We sailed from the Virgin Islands in mid-May, heading to Bermuda, 960 miles due north.  I was miserably seasick, subsisting on the chocolate/oatmeal cookies I always made before a trip. 

Almost from the first, we had problems with Ulysses, our self-steering wind vane.  Ulysses was throwing off screws from his rudder section.  Ed made repairs on the top part of the rudder by donning life jacket and safety harness, climbing down off the stern, and seating himself on the lower part of the steel framework that encased the self-steering.  The surge of the waves would carry him completely out of the water, and then dunk him up to his chest, while he tried to insert new screws into the rudder.  Ed was unable to see, or reach, the bottom part of the rudder. 

You can see the metal structure Ed was sitting on.  Scary...

After 220 miles, and two days and nights of sailing, part of the small rudder broke off, and we lost our self-steering.  Faced with returning south, or hand steering over 700 more miles to the north, each of us on the wheel a total of twelve hours a day, we decided to head back to the Virgin Islands.  On our return, we anchored at St. John.  Ed improved the design, and rebuilt Ulysses' rudder assembly.  Despite strong misgivings on my part, we headed north again on June 1st.  (I suggested we put Tropic Moon back on land at the Nanny Cay boatyard, and fly home for the season.) 

Land Ho!  Bermuda in the distance.
For the most part, we had good weather on the passage.  We were hove to one night for storms.  We reached Bermuda in eight days.  During that time we stood watches, 24 hours/day, four hours on, and four hours off. Combine that with a constantly moving boat, seasickness, and little sleep - I was more than a little crabby by the time we reached Bermuda. 

Yep, I looked pretty tired!

No comments: