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

shutterstock_1158262783

A Catamaran Takes on the American Great Loop

After completing the European Great Loop on our 1987 40ft Catalac catamaran, Angel Louise, my wife, Sue, and I sailed home to the States and spent two years sailing up and down East coast between Maine and Florida, like migratory waterfowl. Eventually, though, we decided to ...read more

01-LEAD_Alex_Irwin

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Competition

The Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image competition once again captures the excitement that is sailing from around the world An impressive 109 photographers from 25 countries took part in last year’s Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2018 competition. And while Portuguese photographer Ricarado ...read more

judges2-1024x319-0219-600x

2019 Pittman Innovation Awards

For the past couple of decades, the digital side of sailing has become increasingly important, to the point where it’s now almost inconceivable going offshore, even aboard a daysailer, without at least a modicum of electronics onboard—a trend that has been very much in evidence ...read more

Nathan-Bates-San-Diego,-CA

SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.com And don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter. Check back for updates! I took this shot from Cooper Island Beach Club as my ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Fall in line In the days before GPS, the best trick outside the book for finding a harbor in dense fog went like this: if it’s surrounded by rocks, forget it; if not, in you go, but never try to hit it ...read more

190115-Mark-Slats-Golden-Globe-Race2048x

Photo-Finish in the Golden Globe Race 2018

With less than 1,700 miles to go to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, second-place Mark Slats of the Netherlands has cut another 393 miles out of the lead held by French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede in the Golden Globe 2018 race.  Jean-Luc aboard the Rustler 36 Matmut ...read more

06-Heineken-1-R2018_1March_©LaurensMorel_LMA5965_p

Post-Irma Heineken Regatta

Even more than a year and half later, the scars from Hurricane Irma are still all too visible on the island of St. Maarten. But if Irma couldn’t prevent the famed Heineken from taking place in the winter of 2017-18, you can bet it’s not going to put a crimp in either the racing ...read more