'SY Dreamcatcher'- Atlantic Crossing Second Half
Expectations of experiencing two or three weeks at sea gave thought to complete isolation, insignificance among the expanse of an area that makes up 17% of the worlds surface, 41.1 million square miles to be exact. Add the mass of Russia, America and the entire African continent and you have around 22million square miles- half the size of the Atlantic.
Unexpected then, not to feel so much like a grain of sand in some vast desert, but instead some semblance of connectivity with humanity. There is realism to this, internet connection, email access, weather updates and the ability to make a call, sporadic radio contact with passing ships, and a steady but dispersed scattering of pleasure yachts drifting East to West.
The intangible possibility that the Verde islands are just astern, Brazil over the horizon to port, or the Caribbean, a little ahead is comforting and adds to the reassurance that the wider world isn’t too far out of reach. One glance at the little red arrow that is ‘Dreamcatcher’ on the nav screen, a few clicks of the ‘expand button’ and the predicted eta makes a nonsense of all that and quickly focuses the mind on the reality of the situation.
The reality being, break a leg, suffer a major rigging failure, hit a submerged freight container, catch an unlucky lightning strike or any multitude of negative possibilities, and suddenly being a thousand miles from land and many hundreds of miles from the nearest boat, serves a good chunk of healthy respect for the aforementioned enormity of the Atlantic and the task of wind powered transit.
Fishing occupied plenty of time and provided some delicious, fresh meals. We ate Wahoo ceviche, plenty of large slabs of game fish fillet, and several days before arrival, caught our first Tuna. Something gigantic severed 80-pound trace, destroyed the triple wrap bungee cord and warped the handline, perhaps a large game fish- Marlin, Sailfish, or Shark.
Someone told me, prior to departure, the largest challenge maybe the amicable co-existence of relative strangers. co-inhabiting a small space over a prolonged period, the reality, in this case was not that. The blend of four differing personalities complimented perfectly, high energy, sensibility, capability and nonchalant confidence mixed to give a comfortable, relaxed and successful experience with not one moment of vocalized frustration. The task of making fresh coffee on the gas stove in pitching seas did provoke an array of the extremes of English, Spanish and Dutch profanity though…
Since arriving we’ve met plenty of others who suffered no wind, strong wind, violent squalls, long periods of being becalmed, and various general breakages and failures. During a short day sail yesterday our autopilot stopped working (failed clutch unit) and the navigation software developed a glitch. No drama so close to land but realisation that 17 days uneventful sailing could have unfolded in a completely different way.