Blasting down the Jersey coast aboard Pandora

It’s 10:30 on Saturday morning and we are about 5 miles from shore and less than 10 miles from Manasquan inlet headed to Atlantic City or Cape May.   I am sitting in the cockpit with the laptop typing away plein air this post.   Brenda’s taking a nap down below and the auto pilot is cranking away as move along down the coast. The winds are as forecast, blowing from the North West at 15-20kts.  The boat is handling beautifully and blasting along on a broad reach at between 7 and 8 knots.  In gusts she really goes, beating 8 kts.  I wish that I had cleaned the bottom again as I expect that we would be doing even better.   There’s very little traffic with just one other sailboat nearby.

We left Atlantic Highlands at 08:00 this morning motoring into a very snotty 20kt NW wind to get up to the tip of Sandy Hook where we could put up the sails and bear off into the ocean.  Brenda was none too happy with the conditions which were not pleasant as heavy spray was coming over the bow as we motored directly into the wind.  The fact that we were one of the first boats to leave didn’t make her feel particularly confident in our plans.

However, after settling onto our course south for our 75-100 mile run, I was able to put out the genoa and full main which really got us going.  To sail on such a great point of sail for hours and hours at between 7 & 8kts isn’t something that happens every day.    The good news is that while the wind is blowing nearly 20 kts in gusts, we never see apparent wind much above the mid teens as we are going along with the wind, a very pleasant way to go.

The forecast calls for another day of these conditions and then it is supposed to shift to the south and blow fairly hard for a few days.   The weather router specifically noted that Tuesday is going to be nasty so recommended that we find a safe place to anchor while that blows through.

Our plan is to head to Atlantic City or Cape May, spend the night and then head up the Delaware Bay when the wind shifts to the south.

After that, into the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal and on to Chesapeake City to ride out the nasty winds on Tuesday.     As no post is complete without a few photos, here you go

Nice shot of the ensign.  Makes me proud to be an American.  

What a perfect day to be making passage.  We are indeed off to a great start for our voyage.    These shots don’t begin to do justice to the beautiful view.   

Before I get too full of myself about how fast Pandora is I should show this shot of a 100′ yacht that just ran past us at nearly 30kts.  Makes you wonder about his carbon footprint.  I for one feel pretty good that my autopilot, laptop, phones and all the other electronic stuff aboard are being charged by my solar panels that are cranking away and delivering power to spare.  

Finally, thanks also for your nice e-mail notes.  Please leave comments on the blog too.

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