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Bella Donna (6) - April 17, 2007




Late yesterday, after I finished the post, we were all sitting on the fly bridge enjoying

the remains of the day, a beautiful sunset was about to occur. John and Anthony were lying on the sun pad with their sun glasses, looking like twins. Deborah who was on watch

remarked how much it looked like father and son. We all laughed, but it could easily be

seen that way. John remarked again that this was the easiest passage he could ever remember.


The thing I like about cruising is that each day is unlike the last. Every day so far has

been too much like the last. However, when days are this good, who can complain? This

morning on our watch, we finally reached our long anticipated way point at latitude 14

degrees north and 397 miles from the Panama Canal. Our weather advisor told us to stay

above 14 degrees until we reached this point. This is fine as it is good to stay away from

Venezuela and Columbia. In the 60's you may have encountered pirates, but today it is

political hassle we worry about.


When we reach the way point we change course from 247 degrees to 227 degrees, more south. So by Thursday morning we will be a few miles off the Panama Canal. That means John was dead right and the passage will have taken 5 easy days, 120 hours. I think we plan to transit the canal as soon as possible. We have an agent who made all the arrangements for us. Since we are longer than 65 feet, we will be required to take a professional pilot and transit in one day. We will have at least 4 hired deck hands to man the 4 125 feet of 1 inch lines required to work with more men on the sides of the canal.


After our watch we stayed on the bridge with John until 11 AM on his watch. We discussed sail boats. John noted that the world is moving to large catamarans as they offer cruising comfort while helping to keep the fuel costs down. We think that Bella Donna represents the current best design of this class. We feel that under the right wind and sea conditions we could sail at 13 knots. The fact is that most of the time the wind and sea conditions are not optimal so you have to sail much slower, motor sail or just motor.

Today the sea is flat, no roll and small ripples. Our apparent wind is 4 to 6 knots from

120 degrees off our port; the true wind is 10 to 12 knots close to just behind us. With

both engines at 2000 RPM we are able to do over 10 knots boat speed. This is good although we do have some current flowing nearly in our direction to help out.


It is now late afternoon and we decided to fish. I had Deborah slow the boat down some. No fish yet. Does anyone know a good fish dance or song or anything?


God Bless Bella Donna.

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