French Wells Once Again
After much hemming and hawing and trying to decide what to do, it was with heavy hearts that we decided it was prudent to head back to Georgetown, rather than wait at least another 15 days for a favorable wind to head east and south to the Dominican Republic, as that would be mid July. We still had seven more days of sailing to reach the DR and even if a miracle happened and we got 7 good days of weather in a row, we still wouldn’t reach the DR until late July or early August. The door had slammed shut as there are no safe places to ride out a hurricane between Georgetown and the DR. The only reasonable choice was to sail back in the prevailing wind.
We left our anchorage in Delectable Bay off Acklins Island at 7 a.m. As seemed usual, the morning winds were light as we began our 25 mile sail across the Bight of Acklins. We expected the wind would pick up by 9 or 10 and wanted to have a few miles under the keel before it did. We set full sail for a nice broad reach, making 5.5 to 6 knots, a truly lovely sail. The same area that had been all hell breaking loose, just a few days before was now quite pleasant.
We only had one little incident as we needed to change course for the last 5 miles and that required a jibe. I couldn’t budge the line on the preventer, so yelled at Coleen to let out the main, to take off the pressure. She did, and I was able to loosen the line, but then the boom did a jibe and slammed the main all the way against the spreaders. She didn’t actually just let out the mainsheet, she let it go. We’re lucky the boom did not break. I had quite a time grabbing the loose end of the mainsheet and getting it all back under control. A new lesson was learned, I should have had a stopper knot on that mainsheet, to keep it from flying away.
Anyway, a couple of hours later we had crossed the Bight and rounded the point of Long Cay, and just as had happened a few days before, we were met with squalls. This time I was ready, as I had put in a reef before we rounded the point and rolled in some jib too. Before long I was putting in another reef as the skies did not look at all friendly. We had some very gusty wind, but managed to dodge the rain. We neared the anchorage at French Wells before the squalls cleared out and had to just sit for an hour until the sun came out enough to read the water and pick our way through the coral heads.
By 6 p.m. we were anchored, sipping chocolate rum drinks and enjoying the beautiful view in mostly calm waters.