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Man it feels good to be back in Louisiana.  It’s strange understanding everyone around me.  I haven’t been able to do that for a while.  However, considering some of the things I’ve heard, there is something to be said for not knowing what people are talking about.  It’s also strange to be back in texting land, where I send and receive text messages all day.  There are benefits to both lives, and neither one is better at this point. 

The trip from Lanzarote to Guadeloupe was pretty straight forward.  The high pressure system that dictates the trade winds was pretty far south when we left, and light airs dominated both the west and southern options so we went south towards the Cape Verdes where we had an option to pick up some fuel if necessary.  It’s a conservative option for delivering a boat, but meant we had to cover a lot more distance to get to Guadeloupe because we were so far south.  So in the end it took us 18 days to sail 3,650 miles, and the crew which included my Dad, Phil Bylsma, and Tom Mullen did a really good job of staying on task.  There were four of us in all, and most of the trip was done with the spinnaker in winds from 15-20 knots.  I’d wake them up at least once a night to change from spinnaker to code zero, or to gybe and they were all enthusiastic to do the maneuver.  It’s a pleasure to work with people who actually enjoy sailing 🙂

Here is the foredeck of Kativa, complete with a dingy and staysail on hanks.

And here is the foredeck crew, Tom and what’s his face.  We had a system and nobody else was allowed in front of the mast 🙂

Our only equipment failure for this leg was a spinnaker halyard shackle failing at 2:45 am (of course) the night before we got into Guadeloupe.  Once again the team got on deck and we recovered the sail from the water without damaging it or the spinnaker sock.  Because it was only blowing 16 knots at the time we sheeted in the mainsail super tight and headed dead downwind so we were going very slowly with the spinnaker right along side the boat.  Three of us grabbed one tape while my Dad drove and had the sail on board within a few minutes. 

The most regrettable event of the whole trip happened a few days before we finished the leg when we hit a whale very hard.  After hitting the keel it surfaced next to the boat and turned and hit the rudder.  It is quite upsetting to me still because it was definitely bleeding a lot, and I could see it struggling in the water as we sailed off.  I will never forget that image, and I hope to never to do that again.  Our boat is 42,000 lbs and we were going about 9 knots at the time, so we must have done a lot of damage to the 20′ whale.  I don’t know what kind it was.  Truthfully I hesitated about even including this in the blog, but it is an unpleasant reality of sailing offshore.  We sailed away unscathed in this case, which would be unlikely on a racing boat like a mini.   Okay, enough of that.  I want to change the subject.

So I’m in Louisiana visiting friends and getting things lined up for my winter training assault in La Trinite, which after sailing on boat with headroom, refrigeration and hot water, excites me very much.  I struggle a great deal with displacement boat sailing, and look forward to flicking water off of Myrna’s bow in a month or two.

It’s good to be home too though.

-R

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