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first leg of the trip

We left Tortola under sunny skies and far winds, a great beginning for the long voyage to the Mediterranean, it seemed like a good omen for what lies ahead. Those fair winds led to big waves, but after the first couple days at sea our stomachs were acclimated, the seas began to diminish and everyone on board was happy. It was so great to spend time with Patrick, with no interruptions from cell phones and no way to leave you get lots of quality time together. Funny how quickly that time passes, the days get filled with the business of eating, sleeping, reading and trying to sail the boat as fast as possible, with small boat projects mixed in. I didn't think I was the least bit competitive, but you can see the boats near you on radar and it gives you their wind speed, course, and latitude and longitude. You can't help but wonder, how are they going faster than us? what sails do they have up? are they reefed? how can we speed up? Endless hours get filled with adjusting sails, talking about ways to adjust sails, and trying to catch up as the distance between us and the lead boats widens. I try to remind Tony and Patrick that this isn't a race, but am sucked into the race mentality right along with them. They say whenever two sailboats are within sight of each other it is always a race, how true.

We made great time with the strong winds, but as we approached Bermuda the winds started to die down and the boat kept slowing no matter how much we trimmed the sails or what combination of sails we let out, time seemed to stand still. The ETA to Bermuda kept getting later and later, this was the exact opposite of a photo finish, it was a slow motion ending to the first stop on our route. We had come this far without turning on the engine though so there was no way we were going to resort to that this late in the game. Finally we coasted across the finish line (yes, they actually have a finish line, no cheering crowds though) at 1 a.m. Bermuda time. We carefully pulled into the dark harbor and set anchor, a bit of an anticlimactic finish, but pretty happy none the less to end the first leg of our trip under sail and 4 1/2 days after we had begun.

After a day at dock cleaning the thick layer of salt off the boat, doing laundry and scrubbing heads we were ready to explore the island and to join friends from home that had come all this way to meet us. It was a fun 5 days of celebrating friendship and birthday milestones, a perfect way to christen the beginning of our trip. And now that Father Pat has blessed our boat and crew with music from an Italian opera playing in the background and holy water from a friend's Greek Orthodox church we are ready to start the next leg of our journey to the Azores and are feeling truly blessed in so many ways.

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