There have been quite a number of “surprises” so far this trip, and I said surprises in quotes because one thing that was clear in the back of my mind is that anything and everything was going to happen. Sort of a Buddhist “the vase is already broken” kind of feeling.

Among the surprises we’ve had thus far:

  • Weather not even close to historical data and planning software for the month of June.
  • The amount of “leisure” time is either not yet there or we are spending too much energy with the inconsistent weather.
  • Wet, wet, wet and damp, damp, damp. Cannot stress this enough.
  • Nobody has killed anybody. At least not yet 😉
  • O’Comillas is a pleasure to sail, and between its own behavior at sea and the writing of Sloopy this sailboat is acquiring its own distinct personality. Kind of scary.

Weather — I’ve wondered a lot what was the use of all the planning and research regarding weather when the Atlantic was going to do what it wants to do anyway? In planning for this voyage we used software that had all sorts of historical data for weather in the Atlantic and picked the month of June to do the journey because of a combination of high probability of good consistent winds going West to East, good wave sizes, currents, etc. Statistically speaking the number of gales and storms we’ve had is just as atypical as the number of slow wind days.

Time — This pattern of bad exhausting days followed by slow days, means that we get caught in a burn/rest cycle. We are too busy to do anything else when the weather demands our full attention and we are a bit tired afterwards when the weather would have permitted us. I just have one request for anyone out there in charge of the weather: BALANCE!

Wet & damp — Without sun, there isn’t much we can do about wet and damp clothes. When we had the first big storm at the beginning of the journey we took advantage of some gorgeous dates to dry out. The past 3 days we’ve had little to no sun and with the exception of putting our gloves in the engine compartment to dry, there hasn’t been much we have been able to do regarding clothes. I can already hear our families back home saying: “I told you so, you should have brought more of this or that.” Well, folks, you were right, but that is unfortunately of little use at this point.

Getting along — With the exception of a hit on José Manuel’s head and on my father’s finger by the spinnaker pole, both minor but nonetheless painful, nobody has killed anybody yet despite being confined to a relatively small space. Both José Manuel and Dad alleged that both of these incidents were part of my plan to establish my authority on the sailboat — mafia style. They claim I’m already bossing everyone around, and this was my “you better watch out” warning. Personally I think they are making all this up. But just in case, I’ve reminded them that everything will continue just fine as long as everyone listens to me;-) Now seriously folks, I’ve been very pleased with the balance that José Manuel brings to the equation. Having his company has been very rewarding on a personal level and I only hope he feels the same way about joining Dad and me

O’Comillas — Granted, I have a long laundry list of tweaks and things I would do differently to prepare and fine tune the sailboat, but I continue to be very favorably impressed with how well it has performed. Three nights ago we had a storm with 40 knots of wind gusting to 50 coming on a broad reach, and with little sails showing, O’Comillas sailed comfortably around 12 knots. Yes, we could have had more sail up and reached close to 20 knots, but this was at night and some of us wanted to sleep during our off shifts. The point is that the sailboat felt comfortably in control, riding the storm and not letting the weather control it. This has probably been one of the nights I’ve enjoyed the most thus far.

So all and all, we are looking forward to greeting our respective families and friends on the other side. Each passing day that needs becomes stronger and stronger in each of us. So we sail away…