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The Trip back from MoBay Dec 2009
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After a mildly disappointing Jamin Regatta where we finished 5th, we decided that Sunday afternoon would be the best time to leave for the sail back to Grand Cayman. We said our goodbye's to Rick and Marcie who had to leave at around 12 for their long trip back to Vancouver, enjoyed a last proper lunch at the Sunset Beach Resort with Heidi before heading across the road to the Montego Bay Yacht Club. After the expected wait for Customs and Immigration to clear us out of Ja. mon, we hoisted sails, accepted the "bon voyages" from the Coomodore and other J22 sailors still packing up after the Regatta, gave Heidi a final hug and headed out of the Marina for the Cuba Sea. As we later found out we had left just in advance of a torrential rainstorm. Heading west we payed with the new GPS that Jo had brought in from Miami and managed to plot a rhumb line to Grand Cayman. As we cleared the land effect on the wind we were able to hoist the spinnaker before nightfall and speeds went up into the 8 knots +. However without a compass to steer by and the waves pushing the boat around significantly we decided to take it easy in the dark and dropped the spoinnaker so that we could set the sails on a course slightly high of the rhumb line and sailed under main and jib until daybreak, steering by the sails and feel of the helm.
As the day dawned we dropped the jib and hoisted the spinnaker again. The GPS showed that we were about 5 miles north of the rhumb line so we spent the whole of Monday sailing as low as we could whilst trying to keep the boat speed up and take advantage of the following sea. The waves were probably about 6 feet and just right for surfing, so I had a wonderful hour on the helm seeing how many waves I could catch in succession and how long I could keep the speed over 10 knots. I even managed 14.2 knots recorded on the GPS! Naturally when playing on the edge like that the wind and wave gods have the occassional laugh at your expense and we had some mild broaches just to keep things real!
As you can see by our course we ended up a little closer to the East End than we would have liked, and the combination of a dying wind, dead run under spinnaker, sunset and no moon made our approach to the Port Authority to check-in, more of a commando stealth approach than a glorious victory of man over the elements. However we were back and only had to wait 13 hours for Customs and Immigration to clear us before we were officially back on the Island.