St. Augustine to The Bahama Islands

Trip Start Jun 16, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Bahamas  , Out Islands,
Sunday, December 23, 2012

These two videos document our passage from St Augustine to Great Sale Cay and then from Great Sale to Green Turtle Cay.

The first was a motor trip with a little unplanned sailing at the end and the second was a fabulous Sail up and over the two largest of the Abaco Islands; the Islands of the Little Bahama Bank.

Ruth tells me that I should have included footage about our "engine breakdown" which occurred about 10 miles before we made an unplanned stop at Great Sale Cay.   There is no video so I'll have to tell the story in writing:

We were under motor power because there was so little wind. It was 1:00 am and the engine stopped. Ruth was on watch and woke me up. The first thing we did, was... raise the sails!

With only 5 knots of wind, blowing directly from the direction we needed to go, we quickly checked the chart and found Great Sale Cay was the nearest anchorage.   Ruth went to sleep and I started the long, slow process of sailing directly into a very light wind. Distance “as the crow flies” from where our engine stopped to where we anchored was only 10 miles. But sailing into the wind, you need to “tack”: repeatedly zig-zagging back and forth gaining a little more distance toward your objective with each zig and zag. Through the night, I tacked 7 times and traveled a total distance over ground of 29 Miles in order to get to the Great Sale Anchorage.

At 7:30 am we anchored under sail after 6.5 hours of beautiful night sailing... ghosting along at at 4 or 5 MPH in very light headwinds - it was one of the more pleasant sails of my life.

I can't say enough about how happy we are with Wabi Sabi (our Alajuela 38). She is a heavy cruising boat, and as you will see in the #2 video posted here (“Great Sale Cay to Green Turtle Cay”) she sails fabulously well in heavy winds.  However, for a 27,000 lb; full-keel boat with 2 extra tonnes of cruising gear aboard to sail this well in light winds is simply amazing.  

She is a wonderful boat. We love our Alajuela!

BTW: the next day after an hour of diagnostics with no clear picture as to what was wrong with the
engine... Ruth asked: “are we out of gas?”. The answer turned out to be “yes”!  

Thankfully we store an extra 15 gallons of fuel in Jerry-cans on deck, so we could get the engine going again for the emergency re-anchoring that was to come (documented in the video).


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