Trying to WAVE a goodbye to the Atlantic

The past 50 hours have been pretty ideal sailing. The winds have been from the west and northwest allowing us to sail the rhumb to the Strait of Gibraltar. The Strait is a pinch point between Spain to the north and Morocco to the south and divides the Atlantic from the Mediterranean. It is only 6 miles wide and demands respect from us little guys because not only is the weather and current an issue, there are 200 ships transiting this small area each day. In the past 14 hours the winds have increased (good) and so have the waves (not good). The waves are from the North (Winter is Coming!) and Heldeleine needs to go Southeast. This creates a vomit-inducing roll to the boat. Hey, but,.. Heldeleine has broken her speed record with a ‘yeehaww’ surf down a wave at 12.4 kts. Try doing THAT on the Westside Highway some time…..Nevermind that, you would also need 10′ waves, a lean to 40 degrees and nighttime with no headlights. So, as we approach the Strait the waves tend to funnel towards the east. Commander’s weather tells us that there with be 15-25 kts winds FROM the EAST tomorrow as we try to enter the Strait. We will aim for the slack tide (the pause between high and low tides) at 2:30pm. We will monitor Tarifa Radio (they give Strait conditions reports every 15 minutes on channel 10) for warnings. We will run the engine, have Main up and reefed and nose our way in… in DAYLIGHT. If the conditions become too crappy and we are beating the boat and crew up, we will retire to fight another day. Crew seems happy with Laurie and Pierre bringing wind each time they go on watch. Last night 24+ kts winds and an average of 8.8 kts boat speed for their watch. Also, even though it is rumored to be summer some places on earth, in our little world we turnout for NIGHT watches in full fleece, Foul weather coats and pants, wooly hats, lifevests, tethers, boots and sometimes even gloves. Well, that’s all folks, please put another log on the fire for us tonight and we wish you warm regards.


Trying to WAVE a goodbye to the Atlantic — 4 Comments

  1. 6-16-15: Glad to hear you’ve had some good winds lately. Sounds like you’re about to slide into home plate very soon now. We wish you well in getting through the Strait smoothly. We’ll be waiting to hear you have docked safely. Love you guys! – A&B

  2. Hi! Were your ears ringing yesterday? I had lunch with Barbara in Newport yesterday and we were thinking you should be just about across – love the blog and wishing you safe landing. Jan

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