My dad and I just completed the annual migration from Fort Lauderdale to New York City on HOME, our Swan 46 (sloop).
We made the nonstop sail up the Atlantic Ocean in seven days — good time, but not as good as last year’s record five days. We had mostly good weather, with westerly winds at speeds of 15 to 25 knots.
Aside from good times with my dad and a few crew, the highlight of this year’s trip was our interception of two schools of tuna, off of North Carolina. Towing a three-inch feather lure, we caught a little one about 10 pounds (pictured at left) — a delightful surprise after going two days with no strikes. I’m pretty sure he was of the longfin species.
Then we caught a bigger one, about 25 pounds, requiring a gaff and two guys to board him (pictured at right). I’m always amazed by their strength and determination to dive deep at all costs.
These tuna resulted in three dinners and two lunches. Seared tuna with red-wine risotto. Seared tuna with linguine and basquaise sauce. Tuna with white-wine and carrots. Tuna-salad sandwiches. Tuna sashimi. I never thought I’d get sick of fresh tuna, but I began to.
Another highlight was when a fighter jet passed a few hundred feet overhead during my morning watch, about 50 miles off Cape Hatteras. I heard it and when I looked up, it was already a few miles away. Then an explosion rocked the boat about 20 seconds later, startling everyone. This jet broke the sound barrier directly over us! We were the only boat around, so the pilot must’ve known exactly what he was doing in rousing us.
The final highlight occurred after docking in New York. I enjoyed a gin-and-tonic while my four- and six-year-old kids washed the boat.
My son, who made his first offshore passage last year on the same annual delivery, was upset he missed this year’s trip due to school and other planned activities. The kids will get a few weeks sailing this summer around Long Island Sound and the islands around Cape Cod.
Now it’s time to rid myself of the post-voyage low, and get reacquainted to land and society.