It’s Friday morning and we are far enough south that we should pick up the easterly trade winds sometime today, hopefully around mid day.
The trade winds are consistently from the east and this time of year they will begin getting stronger and peak in December and January. These winds can be quite strong as mentioned in prior posts but it’s a bit unclear as to how much they will impact our ability to make it to Antigua.
Fortunately, we are in the front part of the fleet with the bulk of boats behind us. That’s good but we aren’t as far east as we’d like so the angle of the wind and our course will put the apparent wind forward of the beam which can make for challenging sailing when the wind and seas are up. Exactly how far forward the wind will be will have a lot to do with how easy, or not, our run is the rest of the way to Antigua.
By the time we get to Antigua, hopefully sometime around mid-day on Monday, the wind will not be too strong and won’t be blowing south of east. However, for those boats that are 60-100 miles north of us, the winds Tuesday might be so strong that they will opt to bail into St Martin to waif for more reasonable conditions later in the week.
As much as I want to get to Antigua, if things get nasty, I too will opt to take a break and then continue on to Antigua a few days later.
The problem with all of this is that even a few days out it’s hard to predict exactly what conditions will be like and the difference between 25kts and 30kts is bigger than you’d think and even that small difference could make the trip quite unpleasant.
Additionally, while we have been blessed with very few squalls, we expect to hit more of them as we move south. Squalls come with more wind so that 30kts could be 40kts and if there are enough of them, they could also cause the seas to build up higher. As it is, we are expecting seas in the 10’ range that will be coming at us from the side of the boat. That’s not a terrible angle but will be interesting, for sure.
Thinking forward to arrival events in Antigua, it continues to be tough to plan with so many uncertainties. With this in mind, I have been in touch with some of our key contacts in Antigua and we also plan on sending out a note to all skippers to ask if they have a feel for their arrival and about travel plans. Armed with this information, we should be able to begin scheduling at least a few events over the next few weeks.
I’ll admit that it’s a bit frustrating as I try to know the unknowable and somehow organize events with so little certainty.
For the moment all I can really do is to plan to keep Pandora moving in the right direction and do my best to end up in Antigua with no stops along the way.
One thing for sure is that this is all interesting, perhaps a bit too much so.
Details to come, is about all I can say with certainty.