From: Boat Captain Ben Galloway
Monday Morning, July 6, 2015
The day before yesterday (Saturday, July 4) was one of my most memorable days of sailing ever. Zach and I started our watch at 0600 surfing the waves in between 18 and 23 knots of wind and under an a lot of sails (A4, spin staysail, main with one reef, mizzen jib and a mizzen); it was a challenge to keep the boat under control, and with every roll it felt like Dorade was going to round up or do a Chinese gybe, but I knew she would keep tracking straight, as I have done this many times onboard. Throughout the morning, the wind and waves slowly built, as did our boat speed going down them. Before long, we found ourselves hurtling down a wave at over 18 knots, in 27 knots of wind and decided it was time take down some of the sails. Dorade is a piece of maritime history that has defined the sport, so although it is a bit stressful to be pushing it so hard, it was at the same time extremely exhilarating. During the afternoon the wind increased even more, and we saw gusts of over 40 knots and waves over 18 feet, which on a little boat like Dorade is not too comfortable.
By the end of the day, our bodies were aching from fighting the waves and our hands had blisters from wrestling the tiller, but luckily the wind had eased back into the teens and we could start to relax a little. The glass of wine at cocktail hour tasted even better than usual.
Yesterday (Sunday, July 5), was a lighter day, and a lot of concentration was required to keep the boat moving. Almost every watch required the entire crew on deck for spinnaker peels and sail changes. We managed to dry some clothes and get the boat back in order. Any spare time was used to catch up on sleep. On the positive side, we gained around twenty miles on the boats ahead of us who were parked in the light breeze for a few hours.
This morning (Monday, July 6), we spent a few hours sailing through another front, with steady 40-knot breeze, and had to put three reefs in the sail (for the first time ever) and sail the boat upwind in order to get out of it quickly. Driving the boat and maintaining boat speed in the waves was tricky without pressing her over too much, but as I write now the wind has shifted and we have our sheets cracked, reaching at over 9 knots.
We have some leaks below and our beds are wet and boots full of water. At times we wonder why we do this, but in the same breath we are having a blast. Right now, everybody is laughing on deck and Terry is cooking up a storm in the galley. Freeze-dry food never tasted so good. Today will be another long day with more wind in the forecast.
July 4-6 Photogallery