Note: This post was written on Saturday, but due to some events that kept Bob busy he did not send it until Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s post will up in a moment or so.
Are we there yet?
Throughout the millennia countless passengers have asked the “captain” when they would be arriving at Grandmas, the cottage, the battle, well, you get the picture.
I expect that many a pirate, complete with peg leg and parrot on the shoulder, uttered these words “Captain, when will we be hitting port have some grog and visit the wenches?” a few moments before being tossed overboard for insubordination.
The British Navy issued a “gill” of rum daily to each sailor perhaps to keep them focused on something other than that oft uttered question.
And, so it goes for the crew of Pandora, from day one of our trip, now nearly a week ago, captain and crew have been wondering, calculating and praying, on this question, “When will we get there!”
George, who I will say seems to have a thing for numbers and especially numbers scribbled on little scraps of paper, has been doing daily and sometimes nearly hourly calculations on fuel consumption with the hope of anticipating when the engine will sputter as the last drop of usable fuel is consumed.
However, as the days have rolled by, we have spent much less time motoring than anticipated and the question now is “when the wind dies, how fast can we motor and still not run out of fuel?”
As I write this we are well into our second day of fabulous sailing in what Brenda might define as “sporty”. No, actually, she’s probably say “This is way too F*&^%&G Sporty for me! When will we get there?”, we are making wonderful time, if perhaps not quite directly to where we want to go.
After days of uncertainty the forecast now looks like we will continue our brisk sailing on a close reach, running to the SE at 7.5 to sometimes 9kts for some time longer. And, I have to say that this feels pretty good after all that motoring . The wind, as predicted, is from the SSW and running between 14-17kts. And that’s good as there is an impressive wind driven chop and we need a good amount of wind to keep moving, lurching from wave top to wave top, with a lot of drama as she launches herself over the top and crashes down in a drenching spray of foam.
We are moving to the SE toward the trade winds, which, as I have mentioned, have been recently suppressed by a large high pressure system that has been over us and caused such light winds. Normally, and passage making on a small boat is almost never “normal”, we would have hit the trades already and would be driving south to Antigua on a beam reach.
We expect to continue moving along on a close reach until we approach a sort of “convergence zone” between the SW winds and easterly trades probably tomorrow morning, when there will be an area of about 24 hours with virtually no wind at all. When this happens, sometime over the next 12 hours, we will use the engine to point Pandora directly toward Antigua approximately due south for another 550 miles directly to the south until we hit the trades.
Chris Parker, our weather router, says that the trades should rebuild after our 24 hours of motoring, first from ESE and then will quickly shifting to the east, more typical, and build to about 15+kts.
So, I’m back to that age old question “when will we get there?”. And, that brings us to George, his scraps of paper and scribbles. “So, George, when will we get there?” “Well, captain”, and I love it when they call me captain… actually, I don’t care but it makes for good copy, “My calculations suggest that if we…uhh, uhh…we will uhh…we will arrive in Antigua somewhere between 18:00 on Wednesday and 01:00 on Thursday, but I’m not sure yet.”
So there you have it, that age old question and the answer is perhaps late Wednesday or sometime on Thursday, not to put too fine a point on it. Or, as my father used to say over is shoulder in the family Country Squire, “we’ll be there when we get there and stop hitting your sister!”
And yes, I have certainly come a long way from my days passenger in the backseat of my parent’s station wagon but the question remains, “when will we get there?”
Is George right? Does he have any idea when we will arrive? You’ll be the first to know, beyond us of course, so I’ll just leave it at that for the moment.
And yes, stay tuned. I can’t wait to get a shower and meet up with Brenda, but not necessarily in that order. However, Brenda, after more than 40 years of marriage, may have her own thoughts on that.
“Bob, stand down and please take a shower!”