How did you get a chance to do this trip?
The owner of the company I work for came up to me one day and asked if I wanted to get some experience in off shore cruising, knowing that we were headed down to the Caribbean eventually. I said of course! That’s when he asked me to help him crew a boat back from Miami to Annapolis. It’s hard to believe that I actually got paid to come along. Surreal.
What type of boat?
A 2013 Beneteau Sense 43
How was it living on a sailboat and sailing in the ocean for a week?
Awesome. I mostly slept outside in the cockpit area – the benches converted in to a bed – which was very spacious. Aside from a few storms, the weather was great. There was one bathroom that we all shared. Took a few hot showers throughout the week. We tried to conserve water as much as we could, but we ended up not even using half the water on board. We could have all showered every day and we would have been fine. The motion on a monohull wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The design of the boat is flat and wide, so it was pretty stable.
What did you do for food?
One of the other crew members was an excellent cook, so we ate pretty well! Mozzarella caprese, salmon, steak, pork chops, fresh veggies, gourmet cheese, fresh bread. We loaded up at a gourmet grocery store at Miami before we left – all expenses paid for by the company – so we set ourselves up for some great meals while we were out there.
What did you do during the days to keep busy?
We fished… We caught a King Mackerel one day and had that for dinner. We also caught a Barracuda, but you can’t eat those and we hooked on to, 2 Sail Fish – the first one spit the lure and the second took the whole line off of the reel – unfortunately it all happen before we could snap any pics. At one point our lines tangled up so much, I had to build a makeshift swivel from small bungee cord hooks so they wouldn’t twist. It worked surprisingly well. We cleaned the boat and tinkered with things that were broken. We listened to music. We talked. There was nothing but time…
Did you sail thru the night?
Well… how did that work?
There were 3 shifts throughout the night: 8-12 / 12-4 / 4-8. We all took turns – one guy on while the others slept. I had the 8-12 shift on most nights.
Was it unnerving to be out there sailing in the ocean by yourself at night?
No, it was actually pretty calm and relaxing… until the thunderstorms came. I had a thunderstorm on my shift every night. One storm was so bad, I had to wake up my boss and have him come help me. It was lightening pretty bad all around us and he was shouting at me to not touch any metal. Looking back at it, it was pretty scary, but the storm came up so quick, I had no time to be scared then. The next night another smaller storm came up, and I worried all night, remembering how quickly the storm escalated the night before. It turned out to be fine, but still crazy!
What was the most interesting part of the trip?
The flying fish were pretty crazy. I thought I had to keep an eye out to see them, but they were everywhere, especially when we were in the Gulf stream. None flew in the boat, but the guys were saying that they fly in the boat all the time. The other one was the color of the water out in the ocean. It was a blue that I have never seen before and cant exactly explain. You really have to see it to believe it.
So, after this trip, do you feel more confidant about sailing in the ocean?
Yes. But there is still some skepticism with the storms. They’re a little unnerving. Looking forward to taking the catamaran out on the open water to see how well she handles! I will say, that one day I would love to own a Beneteau Sense! That was a nice boat!