It is about 1100 nautical miles as the crow flies between these ports. The prevailing wind is from the east north east and from 15 to 20 knots this time of year. We all knew this wouldn’t be a cruise. The following are our daily updates via satellite phone all complaining has been restrained, omitted or removed from the final edit you see before you.
Good afternoon, landlubbers. This is the first update from the Katara delivery crew. We made it out of Montego Bay by noon.
Motored for a few hours to cool the refrigerator down, did our safety briefing and reefing practice and Mars put two fishing lines in the water.
It has been a beautiful day sailing in winds from 5 to 12 knots. Katara sails beautifully and as I'm writing this the smell of the lasagna is filling the cabin.
The crew is in good spirits and we are working out the butterflies as we get into our routine. Each of us has to be on deck for 4 hours followed by 8 hours off. There are two on deck at a time, with a two hour overlap so we get two hours with one shipmate and two hours with anther. It’s smooth sailing so far.
Stay tuned for the next episode from the once mustachioed, always charming: Joshua Landry.
Capt Rhys out.
After finally clearing customs AND immigration, we at long last set forth willing and able. Our patience was rewarded with gentle rolling seas and ample breeze. All day and well into the night, the weather agreed. I managed to strap myself in, laying down on the bow, gazing into the celestial expanse, the boat happily gurgling along, and fell asleep.
The next morning, the sunrise was nothing short of glorious, the kind that rights wrongs or perhaps justifies these endeavours and any future tribulation with this one spectacular moment. To port, a line of squalls lie waiting for us, none of which we met. Fortune smiles. Finally, the wind picked up, and the breeze freshened.
I than proceeded to make 3 of the worst pancakes of my life. Luckily, my chilaquilles were far better recieved. They need to make a cooking show where the contestants try to cook in 20 degree heal. I'd definitely like to see an iron chef try. Curry chicken with peas and rice for dinner, thanks Meg! One tends to mark off the miles with meals under the belt.
In the afternoon, the seas got a little bigger with a bit more chop and some nice winds which kept with us until just after nightfall. We're making good progress. When I awake tomorrow morning, I expect to leave Cuba on our stern.
Signing off, Joshua
Greetings From Guantanamo Bay,
After comparable sleep to the prisoners I was salty as I surrendered and let the heel finally eject me from my berth when Katara dove from the crest of the next wave.
Take any adjective from a facewash commercial. If Clearasil (not a sponsor) could capture the essence of a morning at the helm in the Caribbean and bottle it they would have all the money they wanted. Me? I just want 15kts and sunny skies (well and our wind instruments to work.)
So when I took a look at our GRIB and saw what was in store for me I climbed into the cockpit to collect my riches. I was accompanied a grizzled sea bird on the same bearing who would gently glide along side of the boat almost close enough to grab him. He would periodically snap to attention as he watched the flying fish being rustled in our wake and proceed to dive bomb the surface plugging in to waves and return delighted with himself. I named him Leonard after a lovable village dog on land whose hunger, too, will never be satisfied.
After handing off the helm to Anna I decided that SOB Leonard isn't the only one who wants fish so I pulled our line in, cleaned the seaweed from the hook and spent the remainder of my watch taunting the fish with rhythmic tugs on the line propelling life into our lure. No luck. Damn you Leonard.
You could charge a battery with the electricity in Meg’s voice (I wish). I lept from the nav station and my focus of plotting boundary lines around land masses in the British Virgin Islands. The energy contagious as the crew piles into the companionway, impatiently waiting for the asses to clear out of the frame so they can snap a shot of Mars presenting a technicolor Mahi. As he bears down on our dinner wielding a fillet knife with the finesse of a samurai, I wonder what masterful alchemy Josh will conjure up in the galley.
Thank you fish!
Thank you ocean!
Thank you waves!
Thank you wind!
If sailing has taught me anything it is respect for the sea. Here’s to you, Caribbean!
Ahoy from Katara,
Today is hopefully the half way point! We sailed by the Dominican Republic. The locals in Jamaica all call it the Dom Rep. The wind was strong and the waves were mighty.
At 4:30am, I was awoken by the need to check fuel levels. It just so happens that my bunk is under the fuel tanks. Everyone was up and scrambling around to get ready for the morning sailing.
After things calmed down, I made breakfast burritos for the crew. Cooking on a stove that is attached to a gimbal is quite entertaining. For those of you that have no idea what I am talking about, it means that the stove is on a pivot. It swings with the motion of the ocean so that the stove is always flat even if we are leaning over. While I am sideways and holding on to stay in one place, the stove is totally level.
During this sailing passage we have been making some pretty good meals. Ian made spaghetti and garlic bread, Josh has made some delicious fish and Megan did some great curried chicken.
While we have been on this journey we have seen some amazing stars. The sky is filled with billions of them. The water has also been so incredibly blue! The phosphorescence has been super active as well. It makes sailing at night so pretty as we bounce over the waves. It’s been a little cloudy at times, but the moon also decided to come out.
It's been really cool seeing the glows from Cuba, Haiti and the Dom Rep as we pass by. Currently Ian, Josh, Megan and I are on deck at 7:30Pm in shorts and a t-shirt. It’s hard to believe we are in February with this kind of weather. We hope you all are staying warm and dry back in the PNW.
Katara Delivery Crew
Ahoy from just above Mona Passage, LAT 18!
We're heading east on the north side of Puerto Rico then south to Antigua, we have officially passed the half way mark of our voyage.
A few high/low lights include: beautiful stargazing~ been lucky with clear skies during my 00:00- 04:00 watches to see the Southern Cross, Jupiter and Venus shining very bright and marking my 110 degree course at times 🙂 with occasionally an awesome soundtrack to match. A few moments of satellite or plane game with Mars (crew) on watch with me as there is a continual disco ball of lights above us.
Early this AM I was graced with getting hit with a flying fish at 02:00. I took it as a sea blessing and the little guy looked as dazed as I did before getting tossed back into the Carib Sea.
We've dodged a few tankers and squalls, some great night sailing with some motor sailing thrown in to charge batteries, fridge. etc. Our crew is awesome, sharing duties and stories. Food has been perfect and we have 3 different kinds of mustard onboard.
Yesterday was a bit rough with waking to excess bilge water overload (I physically still feel like a human sponge,) taking on water from a throughhole, small engine shut down, and not enough sleep at a constant 20 degree angle.
Some salty, sweaty hotbunking going on. . . needless to say I look forward to diving into the Caribbean and getting a massage in Antigua, rum drink to follow.
Over & Out:
Ahoy, going on day five now-we had three big events happen today!
First, the crew saw their first close up sighting of land since we left Jamaica. We neared St. Thomas around noon and the winds have calmed as we motor east and prepare supper. The second excitement was that we caught a new species of fish today! We believe it was a King fish or Wahoo which is what's for dinner.
Finally and most exciting of all, today was the first time we tacked since we left the coast of Cuba almost four days ago. The crew is still adjusting to the new lean of life but all is well as we start our motor into the night.
Over & Out
Katara Delivery Crew Mars
Ahoy snowmen and women, We are on the final stretch as I write this, all of us that are below are sweltering and wearing as little clothing as our remaining dignity will allow. Meg just amazed us with her brunch making witchcraft this morning. Turns out she s not only a power yacht steward but a galley goddess. Speaking of galley goddesses: Joshua Landry made some amazing pizza from scratch for lunch yesterday proving that unlike Samson he still has great power without his facial hair. For dinner last night we had a beautiful Wahoo Mars caught. The trip hasn’t been all snacks and naps though. This boat is sporty and its been a very choppy ride upwind which means even off watch its work to get rest. Undisrupted sleep is impossible and just sitting up requires a great deal of core work.
The boat holding together...sort of... knock on wood...and our list of damage is the same as when we got aboard and is not as long as some vessels i have delivered.
So far it goes as follows
-On our test sail we discovered that the key was broken in the ignition and after extracting the broken pieces we have been starting the engine with a pair of needle nose pliers
-Water bladder and secondary tank leaked out the first few days at sea due to a hole we found when we filled it up and the bilge pump only works on manual and then only works when the boat is flat. (there is often water at ones feet when sitting in the nav station) Even after the badder finished emptying into the boat we have found that she takes on a great deal of water going up wind. We have to pump two gallons out of the bilge by hand every watch to stay up on it.
-The fuel bladder on the foredeck is leaking and has made the deck very slippery
-The furler line knot in the drum came undone days ago and fully unfurled the headsail so we lashed on the deck until daylight during this motoring session (the diesel on deck was quite dangerous as you can imagine.)
-The batteries are ailing and require more motoring than id like being that my berth is next to the engine
-The sump pump in the shower is broken so showers are bucket baths on deck when one cant fit the occasional squall shower into ones schedule
-Our stove has three burners but only two pans fit on it at a time making cooking for six even more of a challenge than any galley work at a 20 degree heel already is. We also cant gimbal the stove and have access to the after bunks to port where our master navigator Ian has been living.
-There are quite a few leaks and two of the berths the crew sleep in are wet
-We have no wind instruments or data on deck other than the plotter
-The head only discharges into the holding tank and then has to be manually discharged overboard. It was quite foul when we first got aboard and some of the gentlemen are availing themselves of the transom for relief so as to lighten the load on what im sure is a ticking timebomb. The smell however has been remedied by a daily regiment of cleaning evenly distributed throughout the crew and clearly posted on the bulkhead. Not unlike a house of collage roommates everything is kept trim despite our excessive heel.
Good news is its not snowing and that first beer tomorrow is going to taste so good. Thats all from the captain. Get to bed early and don’t watch too much netflix.
Seven days later and we are in Antiqua. Thanks everyone for the help and good luck to the racing crew of Katara. We wish you the best on the RORC 600!