Atlantic Crossing #2 (Crewing A Crossing)
Kari: My first introduction to Helios was a week-long vacation with my family in the US Virgin Islands. It was absolutely wonderful, and I felt like I’d learned a few things about how the boat worked under the patient tutelage of Skip, Christine, and Megan. I was still a tad worried about crewing the Atlantic crossing given how many tasks they were doing that I didn’t know anything about! I wondered how on earth I’d ever learn enough to be remotely helpful.
It turns out, however, that sailing 24 hours a day for 8 days straight is a much quicker way of learning how to sail than sailing for a few hours each day while vacationing! There’s nothing like being all alone, staring at the navigation screen for a 3 hour night watch, (trying to keep the boat from accidentally tacking while the winds shift wildly) to really instill an intuitive sense of how the boat and sails work. Writing entries in the ship’s log helped me learn how the navigation screen works, where to check the battery and water levels, and how to start the generator when needed.
Now that we’re in Bermuda for a few days, I’ve been learning more about where things are stored on the boat (it was hard to explore floor storage lockers when the boat was bucking up and down!), what provisions we have, and what repairs need to be made. I’m even starting to learn how to spot potential problems on the boat that need to be monitored.
Skip and Megan have been great answering all my questions, and gracefully correcting my flubs. It makes me feel willing to try new things, like furling, unfurling, and reefing the jib by myself, and making navigation decisions based on wind shifts. It’s been a very steep learning curve, but it’s wonderful feeling like I can actually contribute to getting Helios safely across the Atlantic. I’m looking forward to learning a lot more on the second leg!