In the Gulf Stream: Bargaining with the Gods

Bound for the Azores from Newport, Rhode Island, the Swan 57 Flyer entered the Gulf Stream at about 0300 June 8, 2014, and the crew is feeling the difference.

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Bound for the Azores from Newport, Rhode Island, the Swan 57 Flyer entered the Gulf Stream at about 0300 June 8, 2014, and the crew is feeling the difference.

I've been trying out all the new gear I received for the trip! Upon entering the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream, I shed the warm, grippy Dubarry Ultima sea boots and tech socks in favor of equally grippy Olukai 'Ohana purple flip flops. I applied lip balm from Sea Gear Uniforms, a yacht crew outfitting company owned by my dear friend Carrie Fletcher. The latch on my wristwatch kept popping open so I switched it out for the Atom watch for women by Reactor and found its illuminated dial handy during the night watch.

Always eager to make any gains, Captain Rick Martell had been trying out the Weather Flow Wind Meter, which plugs into smartphones and other electronic devices and sends out readings over an app. Crewmate and musician Manfred Arnold borrowed the Sun Power Pad 3000 solar charger by Secur to charge his MP3 player and declared it highly efficient. I agree with Manfred; I used it to power up the inReach messaging device by DeLorme and it did so in only minutes.

When Rick went off watch at 0600, the boat was at 39 43N and 63 29W. We had wind of 10-15 knots from the NW, and Flyer was doing 8-10 knots; at last, the engine was off. But by the time crewmate Todd Mennillo's watch ended at 0800, seas went smooth, wind decreased, and the engine came back on in full force.

The crew breakfasted on cereal, yogurt and coffee and took stock of circumstances. Now it was appropriate to bargain with the gods; after all, with the exception of that early-morning spell, we’d been motorsailing at this point for nearly 50 hours.

Todd set aside a few eggs for the Captain's mid-morning meal, then came up with a redundant use for one of the cartons --- yacht construction, of a sort. With the help of a few bamboo BBQ skewers as masts, in minutes, the schooner Please Send Wind was born.

He deployed the craft from amidships and off it floated, in the company of a couple of Portuguese Man-of-Wars. “Next,” he declared, “I’ll make a Parmalait catamaran!” Wonder where we’ll be when he has that chance!

Track Flyer's progress on the interactive map below!