I decided on an afternoon departure since the thought of another night anchored here was unbearable after 24-hours of being in a washing machine, and the thoughts of a peaceful two or three days of sailing are the best way to spend those days.
At 1430 hours, I raised, surprisingly easy, 100-feet of nylon brait and 100-feet of G4 chain, leaving me dangling in 20-feet of water on the remaining 50-feet of chan. I cleaned up all of that rode and guided it into the chain locker. I then raised the mainsail to its second reef marks, trimmed it flat, and slowly released the mainsheet. Letting the boom find it’s own center of equilibrium in the 15 knots of wind. I returned to the cockpit, turned on the tiller pilot to maintain an into-the-wind course, then went forward and finished pulling up the last 50-feet of chain. With the anchor in the bow roller, clipped on to its safety line in addition to being locked in place via the chain stopper.
In the nice breeze Sine Metu and I beam reached over big and gentle, ten-foot ocean swells. Sine Metu was like a big puppy tugging at the leash and sailing great at 4.5 to 5 knots. Twenty-odd miles slipped under the keel as I enjoyed the beautiful sunset, ever looking for that elusive green flash. Through all the colors twilight could offer, then one, then a hundred, and finally, we were cruising through the glow of the Milky Way’s billion shining stars with a rising barometer of 1016 mb.
Next stop, Bahia Tortuga (Turtle Bay), 182 nautical miles south by south east.
Ah, the thoughts of sailing south. Getting closer and closer to where they say the butter melts! I’ll take their word for that as I don’t carry butter, per se, but a couple small bottles of Trader Joe’s ghee did make it aboard for fish and lobster.
Time-Speed-Distance calculations indicated that it would take about 48 hours at a Sine Metu leisurely pace. Looking ahead at five different weather forecasts (PredictWind’s three separate databases, WeatherBug, and Garmin’s InReach Explorer’s Marine forecast) for the entire stretch between anchorages, everything looked perfect for the next five days. Smooth seas, light winds (5 to 15 knots) and clear skies. Perfect for night sailing.
I love sailing on a night like this. As a kid, I had one of those 80 mm refraction telescopes and loved trying to see things I read about in books. The moon, planets, and stars were where I vanished to when I was 12. Where my mind played with science fiction and facts.
At 2321 hours on Friday, November 30, Sine Metu and I could see Punta Baja, and ghosted by well past by Saturday, 0142 hours, still maintaining an impressive speed (for us) of 4 knots.