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Location: Underway

Family and friends of the Vela crew! I am happy to report that it has been a day of many successful firsts onboard. By 8 am this morning, we were up and out of the refueling dock and prepping Vela for our passage to St. Vincent! Many fenders (those big blobs from the photos) were deflated, and nets were strung on the sides of our bunks to prepare for the rocky nights ahead. Smash surprised us with a final land-based treat with a box of danishes and croissants to accompany our cereal. Then we all sat down in the cockpit, and Tom gave us a chalk talk of sorts on where/what we are gonna be over these next few days.

Then it was finally time to see Vela in her element. Before officially splitting up for the next few days into our alternating Watch Teams, we all worked together to raise three sails – the mainsail, staysail, and forward staysail (shoutout to the Seamanship exam tomorrow) and said sayonara to Antigua. To add to the quintessential sailing feel, torrential rain came and went in 20 minutes just as we began our voyage. Hatches were battened!

Another first came to us today in the form of taking over the role of head chef! Today, Greg ran the galley, and the meals were as delicious as the tunes heard drifting out of the gopher hole. Very impressive cheffing skills, especially considering how difficult it is just walking in a straight line once we’re underway. After that, we had a relaxed afternoon of slightly queasy studying and being flung by the metal water-tight doors every time we had to use the restroom. It’s all been topped off with a full moon lighting our squeeze circle, and now it’s come time for our first night of group watches. I’d better get out there and make sure we’re not getting raided by pirates or particularly energetic barracuda.

Photo 1: Raising the mainsail – Callum on the mast
Photo 2: Tom giving us the passage briefing in the cockpit
Photo 3: Kaitlyn, Sonnet, and Valentina hard at work deflating a fender