Bermuda (Day 73)

We made the mistake of being finished with the trip mentally, while physically we were still at sea.

Matt Rutherford

After spending 10 days going in circles 500 miles east of Bermuda we finally got some good wind. We covered the next 300 miles thinking we would be in Bermuda by the 29th of July but when we were 125 miles away the wind died and we were becalmed once again. This time it was harder to be all ‘Zen’ about it.

We had let ourselves think about our first meal when we got to land, or what our first beer would be. We made the mistake of being finished with the trip mentally, while physically we were still at sea. For the next four days Ault was more like flotsam then a sail boat, drifting aimlessly without even the slightest breath of wind. It was almost heartbreaking to be becalmed so close to Bermuda after such a long time at sea, but all we could do was wait.

The wind picked back up and once again we got our hopes up. We made it within 40 miles of Bermuda when again the wind died off and for another 3 days we drifted around. By this point we no longer cared how much longer it would take. Nikki and I would look at each other and say ‘whatever will be will be’. We knew we would make landfall sooner or later so why bother being upset? In all it took us 8 days to sail the last 125 miles. It’s almost hard for me to believe that it could take so long to cover such a short distance. Then again, no engine and no wind will do that to you.

The last night before reaching Bermuda the wind picked up and I knew we would make it, but I didn’t know how we would get in. The entrance in Bermuda is a very narrow cut and the island has many reefs in the area. On top of that the wind was blowing the wrong way so we would never have been able to sail in. I called Bermuda radio when we were 3 hours away and they said if you can make it to the entrance marker at exactly 6:15 am the pilot boat will tow you in, but they are very busy so you can’t be late. We were beating into the wind with a reef in both sails. I pushed the boat as hard as possible and we made it just in time.

Just moments after the pilot boat threw us a line a massive squall hit which was part of a tropical depression that used to be tropical storm Dorian. We were towed in and we tied off to the customs dock with the wind screaming in our ears, soaking wet from incredibly heavy rain, and watching the lightning all around us. The funny thing is we could care less, we were safe, we made it in, and now we can fix the engine. After 73 days at sea we were finally back on land.

A local newspaper reporter interviewed us as we drank our first beer, and the next day we were on the front page. Locals came down to the boat or stopped us on the street regularly asking us about our expedition. It took me a couple days to get the parts I needed to fix the engine and a couple more to fix it. In the end I had to replace the injector pump.

We left Bermuda yesterday and are making a b-line for the Chesapeake Bay and back to Annapolis. There are no storms to worry about right now and I hope the last leg of this expedition is uneventful. I’ve had about all the excitement I can take this summer.