A Thick Black Line Obscuring the Horizon

It’s Tuesday evening. I’m writing in a brief update for Alex, who just climbed into bed for a much needed nap.  We’ve been pretty lucky this passage from Cayman with the weather – our timing has coincided with a windshift driven by an approaching front that has kept us sailing downwind for pretty much the entire trip up until this afternoon.  This afternoon, of course, the front that was giving us nice weather actually came through!  I had just returned on deck from doing a log and boat check when I saw Jon and Alex staring at me with wide eyes, then point to weather – a thick black line obscured the horizon, where just minutes before was nothing but grey overcast.  We quickly rolled the yankee and got a first reef in the main before it hit, with horizontal rain and steady winds blowing 40-45 kts stinging our eyes.  The crew worked furiously to reduce sail in the tumult, consecutively taking the 2nd, then 3rd reef, and struggling along under reduced sail before the breeze finally backed off enough to let us set the staysail and get going again. Alex took the helm for a few glorious minutes, blast-reaching in gale force winds, before her watch was over and she headed below.  Now the wind is slowly backing off and we’re listening to radio reports from the Key West Coast Guard of “Multiple Vessels adrift in the anchorage,” heralding that the front which we sailed through a few hours ago has just now reached our destination.