Less fuel, more wind.

It’s Thursday morning and we are again sailing along on a beam reach, flying the big code zero sail in wind of about 10-15kts which gives us about 7-8kts, which is good.

In spite of our fears of light wind, and the worse has yet to come, I am told, we have run the motor for a total of 44 hours since leaving Hampton VA on November 3rd at 07:00 hrs.  While we have been underway for nearly 100 hours, we have only run the engine for a total of 54 hours, less than half of the time.  Well, slightly less…  That’s good.

However, from here on in, as soon as our good fortune runs out, perhaps in a few hours, we will soon be motoring and may be looking at as much as an additional 100 hours of motoring, something like four days straight.  Yes, that sounds like a lot and it is but even with our reduced fuel capacity assumptions, we should be able to manage things well.

It’s been a bit stressful to think about how far we can motor and not be delayed too much but this morning I began to put everything together and realized that even if we use the motor often, we are likely to end up motoring somewhere in vicinity of 140 to 150 hours in total for the trip.  The good news is that on my last run south I ran under power for a total of 130 hours and had plenty of fuel left over once I arrived in Antigua.   Of course that’s old news but I’m goin with that.

But wait, more good news.  We have recalculated the amount of fuel we had when we started out from Hampton and are fairly confident that we have 140 gallons of usable fuel which translates into  somewhere in the vicinity of 200 hours of motoring, assuming that we keep the RPMs low and operate as efficiently as possible.   Heck, that’s two more days than my best guess.   No problem.  “Ha, we’ll see about that Bob as you are still a long way from Antigua.”

One of the issues we face is that the trades have been suppressed recently so the reliable easterly winds we are looking for won’t kick in until further south than is normal for this time of year, perhaps around the same Latitude of the southern Bahamas.  This means that once we reach good wind we will be able to sail at last the 400 miles to Antigua.

One thing that particularly stresses sailors is the fear of being struck by lightening and I have to say that I share that fear given the fact that I have several friends whose boats have been hit.

Well, last night many in the fleet sailed through some nasty squalls, including us, and one of the boats was struck.  In nearly all cases of lightning strikes, there isn’t any risk to crew as the rigging on the boat forms a natural shield.  However, sensitive electronics, such a big part of sailing today, doesn’t fare very well.  In this case, their electronics were all fried.  Fortunately, their engine wasn’t damaged and they were fairly close to Bermuda so that’s where they are headed.  If I recall, someone was struck on the last run I did two years ago, with similar results.

So, where does all this leave us with regards to getting into Antigua?    I am mindful that we have less fuel than we thought but we’ve been lucky so far and had more wind.  I hope that our luck continues to hold.

I am also mindful of the fact that Brenda will arrive in Antigua on Wednesday afternoon and it would be really nice to meet her when she arrives.   However, a lot has to happen between now and then so…

However, given what I know about the upcoming weather, I expect that we will be arriving around that time so let’s be optimistic and say Wednesday.

Wish us well.

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