To the Gulfstream, or not….

It’s Thursday morning and not much is going on aboard Pandora.  We had an uneventful night with the exception of a few unexpected course changes thanks to the balky autopilot.  I really don’t know what’s causing the pilot to slew off on a new course but it does remind me of a problem that I had on my last boat/pilot that did the exact same thing.  In that case, it had to do with settings on the computer that called for a gyrocompass even though the boat didn’t have one.  Once I changed the settings, that solved the problem. Based on that, I think that I know what will need to be done to fix this but don’t want to take any chances of messing things up further so I’ll wait until I get home and talk to the tech folks.

All things considered, things are going well out here in the “deep blue”.

There is one little thing that might cause problems though and that’s a forecast calling for near gale winds from the SW in the Gulf Stream near Cape Hatteras beginning on Monday afternoon.  Wind at that strength in the Gulf Stream will kick up some very nasty waves and I would prefer not to be there when it’s that windy, even if it’s from a “favorable” SW direction.  In the event that I am unable to make it through the GS by that time, I’ll have to bail to Beaufort and wait for better conditions to continue north.  However, while it’s too early to make that call, I think that we stand a good chance to make it through the stream before things get really nasty.

The big question is if that front is going to come through as expected, around mid day Monday or if the timing changes.  Our arrival time at the GS will also depend on when favorable trade winds return as we make better time when we are sailing verses motoring.  In order to conserve fuel, we are only able to motor at about 6-6.5kts and when we are sailing, we generally make a knot or more faster.  That may not sound like a lot but it’s pretty meaningful to go even a knot faster as over four days that can add up to an additional 100 miles toward the GS by the Monday “deadline”.

Anyway, I guess we will just have to wait another day or so to decide if we are going to bail to Beaufort or continue on to New England.  Of course, I’d prefer to continue on as I’ll likely loose my crew if we are delayed in Beaufort by more than a day or so.  Oh well, that’s how it goes and any time you try to make a blue water run that takes a week or longer, it’s hard to predict how the weather will evolve over that length of time.

I have to say though, that I am optimistic that we will be able to make our way through the GS in time.  Fingers crossed.

I guess that all I can say for now is that it’s “details to come” and the rest is just conjecture to predict if we are going to get through the GS before the going gets rough.  I’ll continue to talk to Chris Parker and get his thoughts on the timing of the arrival of the strong SW winds when he does his evening broadcast tonight.

Fingers crossed that we will get through the GS before things get nasty or if we will have to bail into Beaufort, south of the Cape.  Let’s hope not.

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