Red Sun at Night, Sailor’s Delight

Date: March 17, 2017, noon Position: 26 5.38 N, 78 4.72 W

Tonight the sun went red to bed, with the promise of a good day ahead…our final sunset on the high seas! The passage is winding down so sweetly, and Privateer is hissing through the low seas of the Northwest Providence Channel. Overnight we will cross the Gulf Stream and with luck, should make West Palm Beach right around sunrise. The American sky is lit up with the glow of Miami and filled with the twinkling lights of countless aircraft. Freighters and cruise ships come and go from every point on the horizon and it’s a bit like a game of dodge-ball out here.

We have sailed 7,000 NM in the past 60 days: The distance equivalent of Minneapolis to Auckland, NZ. Or, if you aim another direction, Minneapolis to Mumbai, India. All by the free power of the wind! Day and night we’ve sailed, through squalls and high seas and the long lonely stretches of the Trade winds. Over the horizon and far beyond.

Last night the winds piped up as we sailed past the “Hole-in-the-Wall” entrance to the Providence channels, confirming my good decision to wait out the previous blow 70 NM out to sea from there. We had a bit of a last rodeo, pressed hard into the wind, but we were just barely able to keep our course angle and sail throughout the night without having to tack. Like clockwork, the winds began to veer in our favor as we got deeper into the channel and the seas flattened out once we gained the protection of the “cays” (islands). All day today we’ve had pleasant beam-reaching in 14-17 knots and flat seas.

I can tell Privateer is happy to be here. She’ll have a good time in Florida while we are away for awhile, and have a well-deserved rest! I passed my eyes over every inch of the good ship today, making mental notes about what we need to do upon lay-up. All broken and worn gear will be stripped off the boat and return with us to Minneapolis for TLC and repair. I am still keen to sail Privateer up to higher latitudes to give the cockroaches a taste of old man winter, but that will have to wait. The weather north of here has been and still looks horrendous, and we’ve simply run out of time to passage any further north. The sea-lorn sailors are coming home!!

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