Pacific Crossing Day 1: The Wait is Over!

Here we go, folks! 

We’ve spent the past month+ on the dock in Panama waiting… waiting for our long-stay visa, waiting for a crucial piece of equipment, then waiting for a weather window. With our departure date finally in sight, we tackled the rest of our to-do list: three days straight of sweaty boat work. Fortunately, our excitement masked the exertion. 

We took a taxi to Panama City, officially checking out of the country. The time we had left felt like a maddening sprint to the finish line: meal prepping, washing and storing produce, informing our emergency contacts of our plans… We got a good night’s sleep and woke up to 30kn winds in the marina. We sipped our coffee and checked the latest weather reports. It would be a gusty day, but our plan to leave the dock at noon remained. Around 10:45AM, we conducted our pre-departure inspection and realized the entire back portion of our helm enclosure had ripped. With a ~30-day downwind journey ahead of us, we knew we needed to repair it before leaving, or we’d be blasted by the elements the entire trip. So, we got to work stitching it back up. The velcro strip had completely torn off, and the sunbrella flap had detached, leaving us to hand sew the section length three times over (Ray estimates ~26 linear feet of stitching). The job took us 5 hours. It’s moments like this when we wish we would have splurged on a Sail Rite…  

By the time we got it back up, we were losing daylight. Reports of partially submerged debris along the Panamanian coastline damaging boats made us hesitant to leave without enough time to get substantially offshore before sunset. So, we showered, made dinner, and turned on our favorite show. What’s another day of waiting, right? 

We checked the weather again the next morning and began preparing for our departure (for real this time). We left the dock just after 10AM and raised our sails outside the marina. We shut off the engines and began our passage with ~12kn of apparent wind, SOG 6.5kn. The seas were a bit sloppy, but nothing terribly uncomfortable. Ray looked at me and said, “Well, wanna sail across the Pacific, baby?” 

Hell yes.

The sea state flattened out, and the wind lightened up as the day progressed. We brought the jib onto a barber hauler and eventually swapped it out for the gennaker. It was bright and sunny, and the crew was hot and sweaty. 

As the wind crept back up toward our gennaker’s limit, we furled it in and brought the jib back out, maintaining speed above 5kn. We repeated this sequence before and after dinner, adjusting to the wind as needed before bringing out the jib for the night, jibing as the moon peaked out from behind the orange and purple haze of the sunset. A small pod of dolphins visited us before we lost daylight completely. 

As I post this, Ray has settled into the helm seat for the first watch shift of the night. He’s feeding me some bullshit story about the International Date Line and Coordinated Universal Time in an attempt to convince me that my shift starts sooner than it does, but I’m not falling for it! I don’t think it has fully sunk in that we’ve just begun the longest passage of our circumnavigation; all I know is that it feels incredible to be back out on the water. 

I plan on posting one of these little updates every day in real-time, plus whatever else I can put together, so stay tuned to tag along on the adventure. 😉

18 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Fair winds and following seas to our favorite circumnavigators!! Can’t wait to read the updates!!

  2. Safe travels you two! We with be enjoying your adventures vicariously from the PNW. May the winds be with you and Sabado❤️

  3. Fair winds and following seas! Thanks for the effort to post daily. Please know that we’ll read them with awe about your journey and excitement as we imagine ourselves on the adventure. Be well !!!

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