Dreams at Sea - Sail Magazine

Dreams at Sea

At sea I remember my dreams; at home I rarely do. Awakened frequently by a new sound or unexpected movement of the boat, I pop to attention with a dream still running in my head. I have to; my world floats just above the surface.On a recent delivery from Charleston, South Carolina, to Tortola, BVI—eight days, but it felt more like sixteen—we pounded east and then south
Author:
Publish date:
sailing_memories
hauling_marlin



At sea I remember my dreams; at home I rarely do. Awakened frequently by a new sound or unexpected movement of the boat, I pop to attention with a dream still running in my head. I have to; my world floats just above the surface.

On a recent delivery from Charleston, South Carolina, to Tortola, BVI—eight days, but it felt more like sixteen—we pounded east and then south through the Bermuda Triangle in a relentless watch pattern of four hours on, eight off. Rough conditions, an unfamiliar boat, two other guys I barely knew (they turned out to be consummate professionals). At the end of a watch I’d duck below to dry off and attempt to snatch some sleep.

It’s 0300. I’m off watch. The stove is banging against the hull, echoing like a hammer on a piece of metal. The genoa luffs as the Beneteau 40 rounds up, then heels over as the jib catches the breeze again. After three days of this, fatigue knocks me out like a concussion, and I finally drift off for an hour or two. Then it’s all hands on deck again. I was just dreaming about having a cocktail at Salty Mike’s; it was ladies’ night, and I remember every detail. Crisis over, I head belowdecks and try to tune back in.

catching_fish

A boat delivery isn’t always fun. We have a schedule, and that means going fast within the safety constraints of the boat, the crew, and the sea conditions. Sailing most of the time with a double-reefed main and jib in 25 knots of wind, we average 165 miles a day. Now don’t get me wrong; I’ve spent years of my life planning and preparing for this sort of adventure, and now I feel that I’m experiencing the best of life’s challenges: I get to sail a brand-new boat 1,600 miles with little more than two tacks.

This I didn’t dream: sunsets and moon rises; bioluminescence in our wake; a moonbeam lighting our way; Venus shining bright in the eastern sky; a 6-foot blue marlin, caught and released. Sailing at night, in complete darkness, the boat bombing into the abyss with only the GPS as a guide—it’s one eerie feeling I will never forget.

I remembered my dreams: family and friends and loves lost. And I was living the dream now.

Dave Welch, a new father, has new dreams now. He crossed the Atlantic with his brother, SAIL writer Dan, and Dan’s wife, Liz, on Daq’ Attack.

Related

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more

albinheaters

Albin Pump Marine: Marine Water Heaters

IN HOT WATERSweden’s Albin Pump Marine has introduced its line of marine water heaters to the United States. Complete with 130V or 230V AC electric elements, the heaters can be plumbed into the engine cooling system. They feature ceramic-lined cylindrical tanks in 5, 8, 12 and ...read more

03-squalls4

Squall Strategies

Our first encounter with a big squall was sailing from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico. We left at 0200 to ensure we’d get into Ensenada before our 1300 haulout time. The National Weather Service had forecast consistent 15-20 knot winds from the northwest, which was perfect for the ...read more