SAIL

A Badly Snagged Prop

When a winter norther blows through the Bahamas, the northeast trades can reach gale force as they funnel through the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti. After waiting for a lull, though, we had a fabulous beam reach aboard our Liberty 458, Distant Drummer, from Santiago de Cuba across to Point Tiburon at the west end of Haiti. In the lee of the island, the wind veered, and we picked up a west-setting counter-current. Our second night out was spent motorsailing slowly into a headwind.

The following morning we entered the channel between Haiti and Ile-a-Vache, a small island on the south coast popular with cruisers waiting for fair winds to sail east to the Dominican Republic. The passage meanders between shoal reefs and is peppered with buoys and plastic bottles marking fishing nets and lobster pots.

As we approached land, a dinghy came out from the shore, and a pair of local men, Felix and Pipi, offered to

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