December 19, 2000
Latitude: 14 degrees, 10’ north
Longitude: 60 degrees, 31’ west
24 miles from St. Lucia

Race to the Finish
By Lois Joy

It is incredible how fast the time has gone from the halfway      party to Land-Ho. There has never been a day on this crossing that has been boring. We had a few idle days in which we read, “networked”, and Pacific Bliss was just averaging 6 to 7 knots.   But the thrust of activities the past few days has been port-oriented. 

Left to Right: George, Lois and Gunter Networking.



As we run out of provisions, I’m updating the computerized provisioning list and making out shopping lists.  I’m working on my journal and the website now in earnest, thinking of all that the adventures we’ve had since leaving Canet, wanting to document them lest I forget. The laundry bag is full, the crew having changed bedding and towels at the halfway point. Gunter, Gottfried and I have been busy making lists of work to be done on Pacific Bliss, marine supplies, and planning the remainder of Voyage 1, from St. Lucia to San Diego. 

After our halfway point, when we had a few quiet days with calmer seas, the B&G began to estimate our time of arrival later than the ticket Anne held. That caused some consternation on board. With the wind directly from the east at our stern, we began to fly the spinnaker at night as well as during the day to make better time.

Rainbow over a stormy Atlantic
Then things changed. It was as if Pacific Bliss understood our predicament and started to pick up the pace: 178 nautical miles in a 24-hour period beginning on Sunday, then 169, followed by 183.  Pacific Bliss, her spinnaker flying in front, hulls surging through the wave crests, had begun to race to the finish. Now, we predict arrival with 12 or more hours to spare for Anne to catch her flight.

Last night, on a watch after the sun had set and before the half moon rose like a white sugar bowl behind our stern, Pacific Bliss had quite a wild ride in store for me. Seated at the starboard helm, I began the watch marveling at the flickering phosphorescence jumping from the waters surging past the two aft hulls.  “There is so much life in the sea that I know nothing about,” I thought. “I need to find a book about this.”

Pacific Bliss interrupted my reverie with her constant surging, as if the wind could not push her fast enough. 9 knots-no, 10 knots-then 12 knots-how about 14-16 knots?  We were racing through the night! When the wind gusted to Force 7, I woke up Gottfried, considering reining her in by taking down her spinnaker, but oh I hated to do that, the ride was so exhilarating. A rain shower came and went, and then another. But these were not squalls, so we decided to let her race on.  With my light foul weather gear, wearing shorts and bare foot, I kept an eye on the spinnaker and let Pacific Bliss run and run through the night, her sleeping passengers bouncing on their foam mattresses.

The day brought a series of showers and squalls, as if Poseidon needed to teach us a few lessons before we raced out of his grasp.  We had experienced such a charmed crossing up until now: only two rain showers-less than ten minutes each-and no squalls or thunderstorms.

Forward Hull Cuts Force Seven Seas.
Up went the spinnaker, down went the spinnaker, on went the gear, off went the gear, until we were all in swimsuits just enjoying the tropical rain washing the salt off our bodies and the decks of Pacific Bliss.  We are clean and free of salt; we are coming home, and guess what…we have just sighted land!  We have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.





Log and Journal