The Havana Cup 1999 Day 2 - Stuck in the Middle - No Wind!

Yacht Race from St.Petersburg, Florida to Havana, Cuba - Marina Hemingway 5/29/1999

The wind is getting lite and we are down to a few knots. This Morgan Out Island 41 sloop fired up its engine and tossed in the towel. It is difficult wallowing around out here in the middle of nowhere. We talked to them on the VHF radio, they were having a power party! We decided to keep trying but the forecast was for dead calm.

The wind is almost to nothing so JJ and I decide to cool off and take a dip. The Gulf is 150' deep here, we toss a floating line just in case the boat were to mysteriously take off and in we go! This is a welcome relief from hot and sweaty. A little Sea Soap (Joy Dish Detergent) and we are good to go...another 30 minutes anyway. Joe is on watch... JJ and I swim around the daggerboard where one little fish is hanging out. I put on some fins and try to push the boat for a little progress. Think I hit .1 knot,,,yep we are really cranking now. Here is JJ climbing back aboard. Check out the color of that water...and it is crystal clear!

Joe says "I'm hot and sweaty but not going to be shark bait! JJ and I try to convince him by doing a cannonball but there is no going for Marble.

This is really not a whole lot of fun sitting still in a race with the sails flapping and rigging clanking from waves created on another part of the Gulf. We discuss motoring ourselves but I really want to finish this race. One crank of the engine and we are out so I stick with the drift. We are making almost half a knot from the current!

Later that evening was some of the most calm water I have ever seen out here 80 miles from anywhere. I worked as a Sailing Instructor for Annapolis Sailing School for years, made (14) 10 day trips from St.Pete to the Dry Tortugas through this same area and never have I seen it this calm! I just keep on thinking some wind has got to blow...into the night we sit. We had 3 hr watches and it was really difficult to keep the boat pointed in the right direction. It would take 5 to 10 minutes getting it facing South again if we let it run on its own. The autopilot will not work without forward motion so we had to just feel it out by hand - hour after hour. We play fair but fair is not playing nice about now!

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