What is it like to be at sea for almost two days straight? Tony has done long, overnight sails before, but I've mostly been aboard for the sunny skies and gentle winds. We thought it was important to do one long sail together before we set out for the ten day overnight sail from Virginia to the Caribbean, so we left Jersey City around 3:00 Thursday afternoon with two friends on board for the sail down to Portsmouth, Virginia. The forecast was for 25 - 30 knots of wind and 10 foot seas, not ideal but a good practice run with plenty of help on board to see how the boat handled in those conditions and how we dealt with it. Those of you that are nervous about our safety at sea (and our marriage surviving) need not worry. This boat is built for rough weather and crossing oceans, there was never a time I didn't feel safe and secure in our new home (cold, wet and tired for sure though). We set up a schedule of 3 hour shifts, so two people would be on deck at all times. On our off time the challenge was trying to sleep on a rolling boat, the best spot we found was in the bunk beds in the center of the boat with the lee cloths up so you didn't end up on the floor. Lying there you couldn't help but think "is this how it feels to be in a washing machine?" It is amazing the noise the water makes churning around the boat, truly like a wash cycle, but surprisingly comforting. I have to admit, I slept remarkably well. Sleep had been pretty elusive lately so the 3 hours on and 3 hours off schedule fit pretty well into my current sleep pattern. There is a bright side to everything. We arrived in Portsmouth around 6 am Saturday morning needing a shower and a good night's sleep, but safe and sound and with the knowledge that the boat and our marriage can handle stormy weather and come out of it intact.
It was a bonus to meet up with friends from Youngstown in Portsmouth that have been living on their boat since last August. So much to learn from the experts, we spent a good deal of time over dinner and drinks picking their brains. Thanks Gary and Melanie!
We will be in Portsmouth until we leave for the Caribbean the beginning of November. I leave for a week to drive to Florida with my dad and sister and Tony leaves to visit his family on Cape Cod. Stay tuned for our next adventure sailing south. Provisioning for 10 days at sea for a crew of four and no grocery stores in sight is my next challenge.