We sailed back out to blue water and started the long trip back to the Keys. We sailed nonstop for days while the wind and seas were accommodating. On the third day, the skies stayed cloudy, and the wind speed increased. That evening it started raining… sideways!
The visibility dropped to a couple hundred yards. I was glad I had the chart plotter and radar. We hunted for an island to hide out on for a while. I searched the charts, and we were in the middle of nowhere. We were northwest of Puerto Rico and northeast of the Dominican Republic. From the depth meter reading of fourteen thousand feet, I confirmed we were over the Maimon Basin. We were getting tired, and it was too rough to sleep on night watch changes. The whitecaps were splashing across the deck. The water was cold, and we broke out our heavy weather gear.
I already had the main sail reduced into the mast as we still did seven knots across the big rolling waves. We were considering going back to Puerto Rico when the radio started screaming, “Mayday! Mayday! We are taking on water. Mayday! Mayday!”