Egret's engine comes in for praise as the boat powers to Mar del Plata

Day 69: Cruising musings

Position: 36° 34.87S 54° 48.26W

Course: 246°

Distance travelled: 5445.78nm from Gibraltar

Average speed: 5.9 knots

Conditions: Seas 4′-6′ NNW, apparent wind 11.8 knots NNW

Scott and Mary Flanders left Gibraltar on 16 September, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For the first instalment of their diary, click here.

Yesterday, the seas continued to build into quite high little mountains for two hours or so then stayed large but spaced out further and finally diminished into comfortable 4′-6′ footers. Last night was very comfortable as well. This morning, exactly as predicted, the wind and waves are clocking around to the northerly quadrants. The wind is from the NNE at 15.6 knots with building 3′-5′ waves. The ocean certainly has many different personalities.

When Egret reaches Mar del Plata tomorrow, we should see some ‘Southern Ocean Class of 06’ boats, which are congregating in one of the two yacht clubs. These intrepid sailors are truly skilled. They need to be. If Egret were yacht at this very moment we would be on a beam reach getting soaked with very chilly seawater a couple times a minute. Yesterday when Egret was driving through large head seas, yachts would have to be doing long tacks to make headway to windward. For a sailboat to power through that mess would have been nearly impossible. But we are standing in the pilothouse braced on the counter in a t-shirt, shorts and barefoot as this is written.

The Egret crew are relative neophytes to long distance cruising. We owned fishing boats for a number of years spending many hours on the water, but only in short day trips. A few exceptions were Bahamas trips on long weekends. All of these hours do count in your overall comfort on the water. As the early retirement and cruising bug was germinating we took the initiative and first big step by buying a small Grand Banks for a real life test. The next big hurtle in Egret’s case was to make the decision to sell everything and order what has become our home and transporter to our dream destinations. This small, heavily built white fiberglass little ship, through our experiences of the past five years, has shown her true colours.

Photo: The Egret crew celebrates arriving in Brazil