En route


Jumping off at every weather window, we are slowly en route back to the States.  It feels almost like a delivery, because it is, in essence.  Our singular focus is to get Reach (2.o) on a dock next to Reach (1.0), transfer our stuff and sell the Manta.  Of course, there is already a long list of exciting projects that Mark is itching to get started on the Dolphin.  


The next window lasted just long enough for us to hop from the USVI to the Bahamas over five days.






The passage was relatively uneventful and smooth; we always say that catamarans sail downwind like a train on tracks.  




A brown booby bird kept us company for a while, fishing off of our bows.  









Sailing along the north coasts of Puerto Rico and then the Dominican Republic under pitch dark nights was pleasant with little traffic, plus we picked up unexpected cell phone internet signals on a few closer points of contact about 15 miles out.  The moon showed itself on the last night as a small sliver.







With winds ranging from 12 to 16 knots or so, the Dolphin performed well averaging around 7-8 knots in 9 knots of apparent wind.  Running wing-on-wing the entire time, using a barberhaul for the genoa, this dead run did have us jibing both sails from time to time as it played around behind us.













As on our extended Manta, we appreciate beefy sterns that rise and surf up and down ocean seas, making for a solid ride.













Arriving in the Bahamas just in time for the next strong front, we tucked into the south bay of Ragged Island to get protection along with several other boats and got to catch up with friends old and new.


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It was quite hard to breeze through our favorite cruising grounds, yet we kept our end-goal still in focus.  The panoramic views were comfortably familiar and will stay ingrained in our minds until we return.








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Island hopping in the typical east winds, we now got to check out how the Dolphin 460 sails on a reach and close reach in stiff winds.  We were impressed!!  


Reaching on different days ~ 










Even with blown out sails, we hit 9 knots regularly and sailed at angles that we’d never been able to reach on the Manta!  



This can only improve once we get new sails...













Close-reaching ~










It hasn’t gone unnoticed that sailing the Dolphin is a lot more of an active operation… with six winches in the cockpit!










Deployed daggerboards (which we didn’t need downwind) really make a huge difference upwind.  Our upwind passages felt brisk and powerful, yet incredibly smooth in these protected waters.





We did drag our feet (fins) just enough to spend several days underwater in very pleasant weather as we continued our northward trek…  




The waters were surprisingly warm, and clear as always.  I was so happy to be able to snorkel off the back of the boat and took so many photos it will require its own post!




© M&M 2016