Light at the end of the tunnel

It’s Saturday morning and as of this afternoon we will have been at sea for seven days.  It’s been somewhat frustrating as the winds have been relentlessly against us with no end in sight until we are perhaps 300 miles north of Antigua.

When will we get there? A question that has been on my lips since I was a young passenger in my parent’s car and is always top of mind when we are on passage.

The first week was full of uncertainty and now that we are about 575 miles from our destination, I am beginning to relax about running out of fuel.

In past years, I have found that we tended to put about 100 hours on the engine but this year it looks like the total will be 125 or more.  That’s more than 5 days with the engine running, around the clock, a lot of motoring.

Yesterday we ran one of our tanks dry after 59 hours of motoring, and with two more full tanks and an additional 30 gallons in jugs, it looks we will have plenty of fuel to complete the run.

We are hopeful that the forecast of enough wind to sail for the last 300 miles will pan out.  If not, I am cautiously optimistic that we will still have enough fuel but it might mean that we just squeak into port with fuel in the tanks.  Fingers crossed.

A big part of all this will hinge on having at least a light wind for the next few days, and that assumes it isn’t directly on the nose, as our speed motor sailing in light wind is about 5-6.5kts and yet in dead calm, only about 4.5 to 5kts.  Over several days even a single knot can cut a trip by a day or more.

When we left Hampton, it was quite chilly and I have heard that those who weren’t able to leave with the bulk of the fleet are still in port and have seen temperatures in the 30s.  Sadly, those that didn’t catch the window we made will be stuck in port until perhaps this coming Tuesday.

You have to wonder if some might just end up bagging the run for this season as getting crew to be with you long enough to make the run will begin feeling crowded by a need for them to be home for what is shaping up to be the first “post pandemic’ Thanksgiving.

I mention chilly in Hampton as that is in great contrast to what we are experiencing now.  As a rule, once you cross the Gulf Stream, it gets warmer pretty fast with water temperatures in the stream in the high 80s.    And while the water cools a bit south of the stream, it never really gets much colder than about 80.  This means that the air is warmer too.

Pandora’s engine is mid-ship, under the galley, so when it’s running and for hours after it stops, the cabin get’s quite hot.  Last night it was really too hot to sleep so I turned on the forward AC unit, which I had set up to run on the house DC/AC converter.  I can only run it when the engine is on but with the boat only heeling a bit, and the seas fairly calm, having the unit on helps a lot.  In anticipation of using the AC this way, I Installed a small vent that directs the cool air from the forward cabin to the main salon.  It makes a tremendous difference.

Anyway, things are going well and we are heading, more or less, toward our destination, Antigua.

So, as we begin our second week at sea, at least we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, when will we get there?  I’m guessing sometime on the 11th.  However, with nearly 600 miles to go, well, who knows.

“See” you again tomorrow.  With us luck.

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