**28 November 2016**

One of the major challenges of sailing is getting to your destination when that destination is situated directly upwind (or nearly so) from your position.

No sailboat, no matter how expensive or finely tuned, can sail directly into the wind.  She needs to be positioned at an angle to the wind where sufficient air flows over both sides of the sails, creating lift and forward propulsion.  That angle is generally about 45 degrees on one side of the bow or the other, making it necessary to”zig zag” across the direct line between here and there to get from here to there.  Sailors call it  “tacking to windward” or “beating to windward”.  I sometimes call it getting beaten up to windward, because you’re pounding into the wind and waves the whole way.

The  crew of Brilliant was faced with said conundrum yesterday as we tried to sail to St. Anne anchorage on the southern end of Martinique.   We had just spent the previous 24 hours sailing north from Bequia in the Grenadines without the services of our engine, which is temporarily out of commission, and desperately wanted to get the boat securely anchored before nightfall. Otherwise we would opt to stay offshore overnight to come into the anchorage in daylight.


Fortunately it was a beautiful day sailing on the waters of the Caribbean Sea, but as the waning sunlight loomed on the western horizon we barely made it into the anchorage, with a little help from cruising friends. We anchored in time to enjoy a cold drink and a glorious sunset with said friends onboard Brilliant, thankful that we will sleep peacefully at a anchor this night instead of sailing through the night, counting the minutes until tomorrow’s daylight.