Dec 11 - Last Day at Sea
All is well. We are 26 miles from St Lucia, and Las Palmas is 2,643 miles behind us.
The night started quite peacefully as the waves subsided. At 4:00 am we were sailing on a 280° heading, twelve degrees off from St Lucia's course. We had a full moon and wind was 15-19 knots, coming from 85°-95°.
As the wind shifted in our favor and started coming from 65°-75°, we were able to point directly to St Lucia, but the waves were no longer coming from aft, which made the ridding quite uncomfortable. Wind increased to 20-25 knots, and we put the third reef on the main. Billy came up, Chuck took the wheel from me, and I went up to the mast to hook the third reef shackle to the ring on the boom. This is the only reef that cannot be handled from the cockpit. Ten minutes later the reef was on, and I was all soaked from the waves.
In the afternoon, the wind increased to 25 knots. We were flying the main with two reefs and a small amount of jib, and decided to let the main down and continue with jib only. We released the main halyard but with 25 knots of true wind pushing the main against the spreaders it was not coming down. I attached myself to the lifeline and went up to the mast to manually bring the main down. I managed to only bring half down and Kevin came to help. Eventually James rounded up the boat upwind to release the main sail and have it fall by gravity, something we were trying to avoid, as the apparent wind became 32 knots and the large waves were throwing us right and left and completely soaking us.
The rest of the day continued with heavy seas and squalls. We had three squalls during the last 21 days. Today we already had five!
During the squalls we closed the hatch and put the lower board on. With the wind coming from behind blowing 25+ knots, the rain was blowing horizontally into the boat.
Landhoo! It's 4:50 pm St Lucia time and we just saw the island. We should be there in four hours!