Heading South … Again (Tuesday, September 30, 2014)

We leave Kittery, ME at 9:30 am. A much later start than planned but we want to shower and there is still some trepidation about heading out again. Neither of us feels quite ready yet. The weather has been fantastic during our time in NH/ME but now it’s cold and rainy and looks lousy for the next few days. Since we no longer have a vehicle, it seems like we might as well go. Matt says he’s not completely sure we should but we head out anyway. Things are not stowed that well and there are dishes in the sink that I plan to finish up while we motor out and before we raise the sails. In the midst of this clean-up, Matt mutters something about ‘cross-training’ and that he wants me at the helm and he will clean up below. About ¼ mile out, we run into big waves. Up on deck, water is crashing over the bow. Our 30,000 pound boat is being pushed around like a tiny cork. We can hear things crashing down below and see water sloshing out of the sink onto the floor (Matt had yet to do his part of the cross-training). He rushes down to try and get the dishes done. I see the water soaking him as it flies out of the sink and everything slides across the counter and onto the floor. I admit that I can’t help but laugh. I look at the waves above me as we crash down into a trough. I alternate between thinking This is fun! and This is insane! “STEER THE DAMN BOAT” Matt roars at me from below. Tempers are building. The final straw is when I send Malachi below to get my camera because I want a photo of the boat crossing the ME-NH border (I forget the floor of the cabin is now soaked, hence a frivolous and unsafe request). The Captain, who is working on staying calm (as well as upright), now completely loses it. He comes up and grabs the wheel from me. Of course, given the size of the waves, nothing he does makes any difference either. Our cockpit is at least 4-5 feet above the waterline, add another almost 6 feet for my height (5’ 10” to be exact) and I still feel I am looking at waves 3-5 feet above my head. “Steer the damn boat!” I can’t help but snarl back. Matt realizes there is no user error, apologizes and, as we both try to hang on, we agree to forgive and start over.

The question of whether to push on or turn back raises its head. A full day of this? I look at the boys huddled on the deck. This is no fun for anyone. Certainly not the ideal re-entry to going offshore. I tell Matt we should head back in. The Wentworth Marina is close by and we can pull in there until the weather calms down. I suddenly remember what someone once said to me, “If it’s not a yes, it’s a no.” The person was referring to life decisions rather than to sailing, but it’s still applicable. Neither of us felt it was a ‘yes.’ Matt later confesses that in checking the weather on his phone that morning, he saw average sea heights of 1-2 feet all the way down the east coast to the Caribbean. When he saw a lone ‘8’ right offshore of our location, he assumed it had to be .8 (point 8).  Those damn decimal points will get you every time. We will try again another day.