Mon Tiki Sailing 30 Miles Off the Coast of the Delmarva Pennensula
We left our slip in Jersey City at about 4PM Monday Nov. 18 with the plan being to run close to the beach along the New Jersey coastline to avoid the bad chop that would be kicked up by the strong northwesterlies on the back side of the front.
But by early Tuesday morning there was a hint of NE in the forecast and I began to worry about being too close to the coast of the Delmarva peninsula if the wind came from the east earlier and harder than expected. So at dawn just south of Atlantic City we cracked off from our southwesterly course and headed due south. This would take us parallel to the Delmarva coastline out about 30 miles, enough by my reckoning that if those easterlies came we’d have a choice of where to be pushed in rather than being fetched up on the beach where ever we were. (This is sort of like a plane having enough altitude to chose where it crashes.)
Good plan except the NW wind just keep coming harder and harder, and the course change made our exposure to the fetch of the Delaware bay much longer and made the fetch that much longer too. The net effect was about 8 hours of 8-10 foot seas that were very short period. Wind and waves were behind us, but it was still a rough, uncomfortable, and anxiety producing ride. Even after we doused everything but the jib (about 20% of Mon Tiki’s total horse power) and we were still surfing off waves at 8 kts. That night the wind eased a bit, but the seas were still rough and the temperature got down into the low 30s. Brrr!
Finally by Wednesday morning things started to settle down and we put up the foresail to maintain a 6kts average and I got out the camera to take some pictures and some moving footage. The wind did shift slightly, but not threateningly to the east. You can see in the second to last shot in the film that we started to run wing-and-wing dead down wind before a north-northeastly breeze. By noon Wednesday we were sailing under the north end of the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel.
The music is “Seductio ad Absurdum” off of Black Hi-Lighter’s new album Bite the Bullet and featuring James Poulos on vocals. I chose this music because loving the sea is a bit like loving a beautiful but temperamental and indifferent woman. Maybe you’d be better off loving someone else, but you don’t choose love, love chooses you.
The bonus photo below is me on the deck of Mon Tiki in front of the Colgate sign on the waterfront in Jersey City. My father, grandfather, and grandmother all worked at Colgate at one time or another, and their Jersey City home was just a half-hour walk from where this photo was taken.