Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sweetest Thing Delivery: St Thomas to Nassau, June 2011

Day 3 and 4:
Yesterday we enjoyed a day of pure downwind sailing. We flew both the Jib and the Screecher, wing on wing all day. The clouds started to fill in by afternoon and the wind started gusting in the low 20s so in the late afternoon we rolled in the jib leaving the screecher as our only sail. Just after dark we decided to pull down the screecher and stow it for the night and just switch to the jib. (The screecher is difficult to reef effectively because it has so much belly built into the sail that when it is rolled up it doesn’t maintain an effective sail shape.) With all of the squalls around us we needed to be able to quickly, and effectively reef the sail.

I made the guys chicken pot pie for supper and we watched a movie. The night watch was uneventful until about 2:30am when Dylan spotted a mysterious light off our bow and a small return on the radar. He became concerned when the light suddenly moved very fast away and then off to the side of our boat. He woke me up when the light on the vessel went out but the radar return was still about 2 miles off our starboard beem.

Dylan and I watched the radar return of this vessel for 45 minutes or so as it maintained our course and speed about 2 miles off to our starboard. I decided to wake up Bob when the radar return started to slowly close on our vessel. At one point it was within a mile and a half of our boat. At that point I told Dylan to turn off all of our lights (there was no moon out and it was overcast so it was a VERY dark night.) As soon as our lights went out we could see that the other vessel was slowly falling behind us but still making the same basic course as before. I decided to try to report the incident to the Coast Guard using the VHF radio in hopes that the boat following us would hear and take note or if it was a Coast Guard vessel that they would answer us and get it all settled. As soon as I made the call to the US Coast Guard we noticed the return scoot off to the south of us and disappear altogether. We were just north of the DR so it could have been a small fast boat from the DR or it could have been a US Coast Guard patrol boat, either way we saw no more of them.

This morning I made some Egg McMuffins and then we pulled out the screecher again and are once again running downwind wing on wing.

We spent the morning solving riddles together... what a hoot. It was fun for all four of us to be together asking and answering questions for riddles. If you would like to send me some riddles on the Iridium phone that would be great. This time do send me the answers as well so I can ask the riddles and the guys can answer yes or no questions to solve them.

Right now it is overcast and a little rainy. The wind is blowing between 15 and 18 knots and we are averaging around 6.5 knots. We have yet to catch a fish but not from lack of trying. The line is out! Dylan is going to make Pad Thai for supper tonight and we will probably watch another movie. Everyone is feeling great and spirits are high. We are just South of the Turks and Caicos and should be making our turn up into the Bahamas sometime in the dark tonight.

Thanks for your messages on the Iridium! We love to get them... send us some fun riddles... might want to keep any number riddles to a minimum as the only one who is smart enough to even attempt them is Bob. hehe.

Steering Clear of Pirates,

Captain Tofer, Bob, Jared and Dylan

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