Location: Underway to Dominica, Day 1 of Transatlantic
Today we woke bright and early to good tunes and a breakfast of milk and cereal. After our morning meeting in the cockpit, we launched into passage preparation, giving Argo her last checkout and walk through before getting underway. Once the last minute preparations were finished, and customs were cleared, we pushed off from the dock and slipped out of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, bow pointed towards the open ocean (and Come Sail Away blasting over the speakers).
As soon as we rounded the point, we were ready for a sail raise, each watch team appointing a leader to hoist five of our six sails and trim them for our southwesterly course away from the Canaries. We’re two-thirds of the way through the semester now, and you can tell how long we’ve been working together by watching the crew work the lines. Each time we raise, strike, and trim sail, the staff, needs to intervene less and less. I’m looking forward to the day our student crew can get the job done entirely by themselves; after watching the sails go up today, I think we’re very nearly there.
Lunch was a fresh salad feast prepared by Head Chef Paulo and his Sous Chefs Jess and Townes; we took advantage of one of the last days we’ll get to load up our plates full of crunchy peppers and leafy green vegetables. Crossing the Atlantic towards the Caribbean, our chefs will have to grow increasingly creative with their meals, pulling out all the stops to recreate their favorite recipes from back home as we work our way through our finite fresh food stores.
After cleanup, the crew all headed down to the salon to continue with OCE presentations while the remaining staff took the first watch of the transatlantic crossing. It was a great feeling to have all of our sails up and trimmed, maintaining a steady 8 knots and speeding up to 10 (almost 11!) when stronger gusts blew through. Cruising the Med was an incredible experience, but the prevailing winds were rarely good enough for Argo to fly; happily, that’s not the case here off the coast of Western Africa. We’re hoping that this is a good omen, and we’ll have brisk winds for the rest of the trip.
Class let out just in time for showers and dinner prep. Chef Paulo and his team came through with a delicious pasta carbonara dish with salad and garlic bread, no small feat, considering none of them had ever cooked the dish before! After dinner, our resident bakers brought out a beautiful chocolate cake for Maddie, whose birthday luck brought wind for our sails. (Happy 18th birthday, Maddie!)
Our day on Argo is winding down. The red lights are on, the deck team just completed another seamless jibe, and the off-watch crew is bunking down to get some shuteye before their respective watches. I’m standing at the chart house computer next to our navigation instruments, listening to the chatter in the cockpit and hanging onto the keyboard and desk as Argo’s rolling slides me back and forth across my workspace. We’ve covered 2423 nautical miles over the last 59 days, and are on our way towards covering 3000 more. Watch team two’s boat check is passing through the chart house, plotting our course, and keeping tabs on our instruments.
‘How’s it going, Trixi?’ I asked as a roll nearly knocked both of us over.
‘Well,’ she said, ‘I’m not puking yet, so all’s well that ends well.’
And with that – goodnight, friends, and family.