We left the marina at approximately 0910. It was clear with winds and waves at maybe force 3. Christa was in charge acting as skipper as we left Lampedusa behind and headed towards Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia. The checklist I had made before leaving needed some amendments along the way, but were proving to be most useful in our current state of fatigue, and still not really with our sea legs.
We got our last look at Lampedusa at maybe 1020, put up the sails and settled in for a long passage. Like the past leg, the one we were facing was approximately 100nm. At least we were starting off in the day this time, so we were hoping we won’t be in such bad shape as when we started the night of the 17th.
At this point we started to experience one of the disadvantages of having too many “Students” on board. When a situation presented itself, there were too many people jumping in with potential solutions before Christa had time to process the situation and come up with her own potential course of action. She has the least sail time and overall experience on the water, so needed as much hands-on as possible to learn. One person was proving to be especially forceful, almost to the point of being a pain. I kept reminding myself to be patient (not a trait I’m known for) and that more people on board means an easier watch rotation which is a good thing when you’re looking at a week’s worth of sailing.
During our previous sail training, we essentially did day sails where everyone came on the boat during the day (or night), we all did our thing, and then we returned to the marina where Christa and I slept on board by ourselves. Now we were on the boat all the time, with no escape from the people or the conditions. I was a bit surprised about the motion of the boat in waves that I didn’t think were very big nor would affect a 46′ sail boat so much. Since we were not going directly with the waves, the best I can describe it is kind of a sloshing movement, like you would create as you swirled the wine in your glass, and then it would reverse itself. It wasn’t unpleasant per se, but sometimes it was getting on my nerves as I was forced to find a clever way to prop myself against 2 or 3 points of contact so I didn’t have to brace myself continually against the movement. It is kind of interesting thinking back on it. Not a violent motion by any means, but still somehow draining both emotionally and physically.
We also started to notice a lot of issues with this 2007 charter boat. There are two heads, and one of them had an actual standup shower, as opposed to a sink faucet that can be pulled out. In our boat snobbery this was important to us. Well, neither one of their drains actually drained any water by this point so we couldn’t use either one of them. More swimming and marina showers for us then. The aft head toilet was to be avoided as well since we suspected there was a leak into the bilge since everytime it flushed we got a nasty odour. The steaming light and deck flood lights were reversed on the switch panel, and the compass lights did not work. Only the third day…
Some dolphins and turtles showed themselves to help relieve the monotony. Our plans for lots of reading and journal keeping haven’t really panned out since we still can’t deal with the movement below deck, and generally are feeling very lazy and lethargic all the time. We did manage a little bit of log keeping and writing in our personal logs on deck, but not much.
We had the first watch that night from 20-2300. There was nothing really of note to see or do as we set the sails and never changed them the whole time. We were able to make 6-6.5kts with the same wind and same sail trim until we were relieved. Since we were now onto 3 hour watches, we were looking forward to a good night’s sleep of 6 hours after we were finished. For about the past hour or so we watched a great lightning show on the horizon. The forecast was for temporary thundershowers from 18-2300 in Hammamet. We were still a long ways away, so no one got wet and we just enjoyed the show.