Tuesday, July 19, Day 10

  • Wind S, 14-16 km/h from 6am-10am; W, 15 km/h at 10am, SW, 14 nm/h from 12-8pm
  • Wind gusts SW, 30 nm/h at 6am, W, 23 nm/h at 10am
  • Temp 71-76; Dew point 70°; Precipitation 14% at 6am, 4% at 8am
  • Next high tide 1am and 1pm in Westport
  • Current position: 41.63907, -70.91296 (Pope’s Island Marina)
  • Change in latitude: 41.51382, -71.07610 (Westport)

Peter woke me from a sound sleep to say, “The winds are so favorable right now. Would you cast us off?” In five minutes, I did just that. Good thing he can jibe on a dime. It took another great jibe to retrieve our line. I thought it was attached to the mooring… half asleep, I tossed it into the drink. The bow line loop slipped easily from the mooring eye. I wasn’t sure it would. Didn’t think I’d wake at all-with those winds howling and 6 foot swells that beat against us all night. Laps became harder slaps and the cradle more than rocked.

We’ll be able to follow the shoreline to Westport. First, by heading Southwest a few miles on an outgoing tide; then by tacking across the bay. We set this up to leave by 7am. We hit this target and left at 6:45. So, we should arrive in Westport on their incoming tide; and hopefully just in time for lunch! Maybe sooner with the lingering gusts. Either way, we’re looking at a gorgeous day as we tiller toward home. Ah yes, home sweet home.

Once we hit the channel marker we’ll hoist the sails and head up the bay West then tack back East. However, I’m worried about the gusts and apparent wind ahead. For awhile, it calmed a bit until 2 miles off shore. The swells are about 6’ high.

Fresh salty, sea spray slaps us in the face over-and-over again, as if to mock us; and question why we a charted this course. Straddled cross the bow sprit, Peter attempts to lasso the halyard on the luffing jib to bring down the head. I’m wondering if he still has his shoes on, or of they landed in the drink to join my hat. Keeling over against 6’ swells and wind gusts blowing around 25 km/h no one else (crazy enough) can be seen out here… I’m salty, very salty sporting my new salted dreds. Peter is soaked to the core.

The wind and sea overpower us for awhile. I see deeper shades of blue preparing crests that break across a jello like sea of green. I wrestle to drop the main sail, but finally stabilized her to the boom. Visions of sugar plums dance in my head and not the kind you eat. I turned into a cussing sailor. Peter said, “Your pretty tough.” “If I get back, I’m painting my toenails sea green or blue”, I said. I bargain with God to be a better lady. Seven miles off shore can still be too far away. I look to the poking sun and can’t see a shadow, and think to myself: “My tides are in His hands.” Silently, I thank Him for the good life I’ve lived. Peace, perfect peace, until the loud boom!

The swells hit hard and feel like rocks. The diesel shits the bed. The top of the mast resists. Then breaks. In a moment it implodes with an incredible boom! The vehement tossing, smacks make us both want to puke. I think Peter just did. I call for help. We toss an anchor. Secure the lines. Get the sheets off the wind. The wind and sea beats us up today. Underneath, I’m sure we’re all black and blue! Still waiting for TowboatUS. Another face appearing at 41.28.498, -70.58.214 would make my day!

We are safe!

I called Peter’s brother Mike. He very lovingly made arrangements for us (on shore) for tonight! A thousand thank yous! I am incredibly grateful for your love and support. Thank you to my son David for being on the other end, praying for us. We love you both and hope to be home soon.

I went forward to secure the jib halyard when the boom collapsed. Peter was at the till when the mast broke. He was on the port side steering the boat when the top foot of the mast broke off. It supports the back stay, the forestay, and the topping lift. So, when this fell all of that went with it.

The boom came crashing down inches from his shoulder. He saw something falling to port and when he put his arm out, to prevent it from hitting him, the top of the mast fell hard to Starboard. The cables and the halyards laid in a tangled mess all over the boat; and the jib was in the water under her. When he threw the anchor – the sail was in the way. It wouldn’t catch. The sail acted as a bucket. We bobbed side-to-side with 7’ waves washing over us… it washed in across the stern. Then the sail dragged and shifted us broadside to the wind.

Peter tried to lift it out on the lee side, but there was too much force even when tailing the winch. He finally winched it up with the jib sheet off the starboard. The boat swung into the wind and the anchor stayed. After the anchor stayed the bow swung into the wind. With the sail secured on deck, Peter successfully retrieved the topping lift, the halyards and the stays out of the drink.

I sent our coordinates and TowboatUS found us again twenty minutes later. We are alive! We respect the sea. We left her another anchor. We simply couldn’t pull it up. I got a jackknife and yelled, “cut it off.” She washed us salty, slapped us in the face, and gracefully set us free!

Tabasco Dingy
Dingy was last seen trying to float into our stern as we entered the hurricane brigade in Fairhaven. Please call the harbormaster if found. We’ll need her to row in.

Day 11

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