Sailing 425nm PR to Bahamas

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We did it. We sailed our longest stretch at sea, 72 hours, 3 days from Puerto Real, Puerto Rico to Mayaguana, Bahamas. We have sailed 400+ miles before but faster due to the Gulf Stream.  I am so proud of Radeen who had zero fear of standing watches in the black of night with no moon and no horizon sailing at 6-7 knots of boat speed rocking and rolling side to side. We both were exhausted upon arrival. simply from maintaining balance and trying to move around the boat. We are not long-distance sailors and we can not imagine longer legs, but for now, we are happy and feeling successful. Here is a map of the run.

3 days at sea, 425 nm 72 hours on a beam reach to broad reach doing 6 knots plus round the clock.

You can see our live sailing tracks and also VIEW ALL TRACKS here:
https://share.garmin.com/islandspirit

You can also see JUST THIS SEASON’s map of where we have sailed
https://new.spotwalla.com/trip/029c-222ed31e-ae72/view

Our watch schedule

We really tried to maintain the Captain Blaine Parks watch schedule for two. But it is difficult for me (Hayden) to sleep when Radeen is alone at night on watch. So, I never get enough sleep and that makes this process far more difficult. When we sail with three people, that changes the entire game. Here is the schedule we tried to maintain for 3 days:

  • 0600-1200 Radeen
  • 1200-1800 Hayden
  • 1800-2100 Radeen
  • 2100-2400 Hayden
  • 0000-0300 Radeen
  • 0300-0600 Hayden

Meals were at 0600, 1200, and 1800. Again, not easy cooking or getting even a one bowl meal together.  Radeen freezes the meals and they are then a warm-up and serve into one bowl. Here is our first dinner…Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, coconut rice, and peas.

Chicken satay w/peanut sauce, coconut rice and peas. One bowl, as taught by ocean sailor John Knight.

The sailing winds

We waited for one week in Puerto Rico until all the squalls and rain and thunderstorms moved out of the area. This delay gave Cat and Bob of  IP 370 Sea Lyon time to catch up with us. Once the stationary TROF and squalls left, we both departed for sea. This worked out so well as we had a predicted wind of 13-18 knots from 090 with gusts to 20-25 and squalls to 25k. Then the winds were to move to NNE at 15-19 gusting 20-25. These numbers on a course of 300 to 320 degrees placed the winds on a beam reach to broad reach for three full days. Our motoring was about 2-3 hours for battery charging and hot water for showers. The sailing was amazing. So, 2.5 gallons of fuel for 425 nm. Not bad. Here are some sailing photos.

We had dolphins playing in the bow wave, so this was the only time I was on deck
We sailed many hours under full sails, main, jib and staysail
The view out and thru our new strata glass windshield is fantastic
Hello sunrise off our stern, it’s about time. WOW, the nights are long when there is no horizon.
Hello SUNSET over our bow, nightfall is coming, just keep on sailing NW.
Rain squalls are a blessing as they wash off all the salt spray
Look out IP 370 SEA LYON, the squall is coming with rain and 27 knots of wind

A Sun Halo

This was so amazing. On day 3 at noon just south of the Turks and Caicos bank, I looked up at the sails and noticed this sun halo.  From what I read,….. A halo is an optical phenomenon produced by light (typically from the Sun or Moon) interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere…….well now, that was really cool. So of course I shot about 50 photos, here are a few!

This was my first view and I thought I was hallucinating Ha Ha.
Then I look fully and thought, no, that is really there, it is not on my camera

Of course, the challenge was to get this halo centered on the mast. This was the closest I could get.

Flying Fish Below Deck….yup

Imagine the thoughts this poor flying fish had when he took off out of the water and caught a flight up and over our cockpit then into the companionway and directly down below to crash land, not back in the water, but onto a hard teak floor. Sailing on a hard starboard reach, he flopped downhill and came to rest against our port sofa bunk. We never discovered him until breakfast daylight, and there he was. We were like…..WHAT??? how did this flying fish fly into the below decks. The only way was via the port side cockpit rolled up the enclosure. He was the largest flying fish I have ever seen. Poor guy.

 

 

One Flying Fish flew into the cabin below. NO WAY….yes way!
This poor Flying Fish did not make his passage South. He flew into our cabin below decks at night!

Arrival Mayaguana, Abraham’s Bay

After 3 days at sea, we arrived Mayaguana and thought we would just drop anchor off the lee shore and rest. We needed rest and we also heard that you can not check into the Bahamas here. So the plan was to drop anchor where the guides say to anchor and sleep. Well, we arrived at 6 am, and by 730 am I am fighting with my anchor chain and 55 lbs. Rocna anchor wrapped around rocks 30 feet down at Start Bay. I dropped in the sand but that must have been only 1 inch of sand and we dragged it right under and around large rocks nearly the size of the boat.

Once freed, we decided to try the west shore, Betsy Bay, only to find out that a north swell was running and 6-foot waves were crashing onto the beach making it impossible to anchor there. Now, we needed to bash back EAST into the 20-knot tradewinds to work our way into Abrahams Bay, a place we did not want to go due to tons of coral heads. With no other option other than to go back to sea and keep sailing, we decided to work our way into the reef area. Remember, we are exhausted and all we want to do is drop anchor and sleep. This all took us from 6 am arrival til 1130 when we dropped anchor. OMG, one shot of rum finally and we crashed!

Arrival at 0600….anchor down at 1130…OMG!

The REWARD….the Bahamas Waters

After sleep and hot showers we awoke to this….look at this beautiful water. We had great news via VHF from the local ambassador, Scully, who informed us that we now can clear into the Bahamas here, saving us a long sail to Clarence Town. After completing the lengthy clearing-in process and paying for our cruising permit at the new online government website, we went ashore with Bob and Cat to complete clearing-in. The Island Administrator, Ms. Chatham, was very helpful and pleasant to talk to. It was still time-consuming for our paperwork to be sent to Matthew Town, Inguaga Customs officer and to be returned. We felt so welcome by everyone we met!

Our Lil BUNS has a girlfriend. Sea Lyon’s AB dinghy 🙂 with Bequia chaps
Island Spirit on anchor off Mayaguana
Buddy Boat 370 SEA LYON achored off Mayaguana

 

Next up….an Island Tour with SCULLY, the man of Mayaguana

Today, should be a fun day with Scully showing the flock of pink flamingos and taking us to shelling beaches and then a traditional Mac & Cheese and BBQ chicken lunch at his sister Vicki’s home. This is a unique place and so remote. 

Hayden. Bob, Scully, Radeen and Cat on Mayaguana
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14 Replies to “Sailing 425nm PR to Bahamas”

  1. Great trip, beautifully told. It’s one thing to follow a little triangle on a chart and quite another to see and read about what its like on the water….congratulations on a great run

    one small thing…today is Wednesday…you didn’t sail that long
    –Reuben

  2. We love that you are pushing personal goals like 425 nm and finding reward in success.
    Did you have a reef at night?
    Very proud of your latest expedition.

  3. Beautiful photos, and the color of the water!! Thank you for taking the time to write about your adventures. I always read every word! Hope the rest of your sail back goes smoothly.

  4. Congratulations on an epic voyage! I am sure you were very frustrated with the anchoring situation. Being tired and weary only exacerbates what is going on. We got an anchor fouled in the rocks in the BVI’s while chartering there. Had to get a local to free it. Love your posts. Keep up the great work. Art Cathell, former skipper of AliCat IP31-019

  5. What a wonderful experience and amazing sail. Interested in your thoughts on the two boats sailing together. Were they basically handling the seas and sailing at similar speeds? Slight differences in the hulls and designs and waterlines. Ron Gold Indecision IP32-12

  6. A full life is about breaking new ground and exceeding ones past accomplishments. You keep doing that. Good for you both!

    I can relate what a bummer it was when all you wanted to do was get some shut eye and had to spend what must have seemed like an eternity finding a suitable place to drop anchor and rest. After it was done however…. how sweet was that wee dram of Rum! The simple pleasures are often the best.

    And the view thru that new Strata Glass…. wow. I think in need to go and clean the bus windshield!

    You keep floatinig and we’ll keep truckin.

    Greg, Kate, & the Doodles. In Arkansas en route to the east coast.
    Talesfromthehighway.com

  7. I’m in awe of both of you!!! You’re liviinf your dream!!!! You both look great! Radeen you’re gorgeous and I love your hair!! Have fun with your friends. Safe travels !!! Love you both!

  8. Congratulations!
    Thank you for the descriptive story. It must have been very frustrating to manage that anchoring situation when you were already so tired. Enjoy that beautiful water.

  9. What a great story! Thank you for taking us on your adventures. The photos are beautiful!!
    We had a bad anchorage and dragged. A story for another time.
    Stay safe and keep enjoying ⚓️

  10. Wow Hayden and Radeen,
    Thanks for the descriptive narrative of this great trip.
    Your strataglass cockpit enclosure is so clear- and makes the cockpit into a dry room.
    What a perfect addition!
    Island Spirit is so well well equipped , above and below!
    Gusto!!!’s lengthy trips have always been limited to 24 hours or however long whatever dog we had could “hold it”.
    Love following you two❤️⛵️

  11. Everyone above said it all, so I’ll just say Congratulations and all your pics are lovely.
    Radeen, those long nights can be wonderful or not the best times-you rock lady! Bet he really did sleep with you attending the wheel. Kathy C

  12. What a fantastic accomplishment. I can relate on most points especially the anchoring hassle! That new cockpit enclosure is something else! Looks like a cockpitinium! Glad you’re safe and sound in the mon!

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