On Monday 7th March we crossed from Martinique to Dominica, with the journey starting with uncertainty as to weather is would be a motor crossing or a sail crossing. The water was glassy and still as we left Saint Pierre and made our way to the very north of the island. As we left the bay though we decided to hoist the main sail anyway in hopes that the little wind there was would give us a few extra knots and make our crossing ever so slightly faster.
As we left the shelter of the island the wind picked up which gave us the chance to get the Jib out. After we had the Jib up for a while we were certain that the windy wasn’t going to drop so we cut the engines and were fully wind powered and the crossing turned from a motor crossing to a sail crossing.
After a while with the Jib and Main Sail up, Dad, Ann and Friso decided to give the Cruising Chute a go. A Cruising Chute is just like a massive Jib but it extends higher and further towards the back of the boat, and is attached to the boat using rope instead of a reel. The Cruising Chute on Ripples II is bright purple and has the boats logo on the outside. It was quite a task getting it up but once it was up it gave us even more speed and bumped us up to around 8knots from 6.5knots.
We left the Cruising Chute up for the remainder of the journey. The crossing was smooth and quick and only took us about 3.5 hours. As a way of killing some time I grabbed my camera and spent some time taking some pictures of the Cruising Chute from various different angles, underneath, from the Starboard side, Port Side, etc.
When it came to taking the Cruising Chute down, it wasn’t a walk in the park like putting it up was. As dad tried to pull the sock down over the Chute the wind gusted and pulled the line from his hands as the Chute whipped. This called for Plan B, which consisted of myself easing the Chute, Dad and Friso easing a line around the Chute to pull it towards the Starboard side and stuffing into the footwell of the front seating area. When I couldn’t ease the Chute anymore I had to run down and help them with the stuffing. While all this was happening Ann was at the Helm keeping the boat on coarse.
After we had got the Cruising Chute away we turned the engines back on, dropped the Main Sail and motored into Roseau to grab a mooring to check in at customs and spend the night there.
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Thanks for reading!