Half Way Home and Making Good Time

San Andrés Itzapa It’s Friday morning and we are half way home to CT as we enter our 5th day underway.  We have traveled about 750 miles at an average speed of nearly 8kts.  That’s a pretty remarkable speed over such a long distance.  Actually, a good part of that speed was tweaked up last night when we were blasting along at around 10kts for about 10 hours, sometimes we even cracked 11kts for short periods, and it wasn’t all that windy with wind on the beam of about 20-23kts.  At those speeds you can put a lot of miles in the bank.  It was a wild ride with the crests of waves glowing with phosphorescence.

http://wargereavy.com/project/more-opportunities-to-smile Jim had not sailed at night prior to this trip so it’s a very new experience for him.  He was blown away by what it feels like to sail at those speeds.  For one thing, it’s pretty noisy.  After a while I put in a reef which slowed us down less than a knot but it seemed a lot less hairy.  Given the issues that we have had with the autopilot going “rogue” I was concerned about how fast things would go wrong at 10+kts.

As I mentioned in my last post, we have been anxious about getting through the Gulf Stream by mid day Monday because winds were forecast to go to near gale force after that and while the wind will be from the SW, a favorable angle, it would still be very rough with steep waves of about 10′ and with a very short period between waves.  The good news is that last night Chris Parker reported that the expected strength of the wind is being downgraded to the mid to high 20s from near 40 and that will make for a lot less excitement.  He also pushed back the arrival of those winds until Monday evening from an original noon estimate.  With the extra time and lighter winds, we should not have a problem getting past the Stream before it get’s “sporty” or, as Chris Parker likes to say “salty”.  That’s good as once those strong winds arrive, it will be as much as a week until we were able to cross the Stream again.   And to make matters worse, winds south of the stream will be considerably stronger than what we will experience north of that area, where we expect to be.

Of course, Monday is still a few days away and things can change but I am feeling more confident that we will be able to get home without having to bail out somewhere and wait for better weather.

The winds for today are supposed to be in the 15kt range from the east, although it’s a bit lighter than that right now, with tomorrow expected to be lighter and then on Sunday we expect very light wind in advance of the expected stronger winds late Monday.  I guess that we will be doing plenty of motoring to keep our speed up.  Such is passage making with a timeline.  The anticipated foul weather caused a good number of the Salty Dawg rally fleet to bail for Bermuda.  I’d have loved to visit there but loosing crew there and having to start all over again with new crew doesn’t appeal to me at all.

So, here we are, hundreds of miles from land and not a ship or another boat in sight for more than two days now.  I expect that we will see some activity as we get closer to the gulf stream and much more traffic as we pass the major shipping lanes along the MD, DL and NJ coasts.  Without AIS and Radar, that will surely keep us on our toes.

Well, that’s today’s report.  More to come Saturday.

Yes, it’s going well and I am happy to be able to report that we are half the way home.  Still, it’s a long time at sea, no matter how you slice it but we are making great time and things are going well.

I guess I’d better break as I have to make breakfast.  Perhaps it’s cooled down enough to make some biscuits.

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