Leaving Thursday? Antigua Beckons.

ruinously It’s Monday and the participants in the 2017 Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean are in Hampton VA preparing for their 1,500 run to Antigua.  Chris Parker, the official weather router for the event, suggests that we will probably be able to leave as planned on November 2nd, Thursday.

San Juan del Río Yesterday, after a run of beautiful weather, turned nasty with rain all day and really strong winds that kicked in after the cold front and rain passed.  Before yesterday, wind was generally light and from the south but it abruptly shifted, following the rain to the northwest and strengthened, bringing with it much cooler temperatures.

Such a major change in wind direction and temperature is a good illustration of why using a weather router is so important for a trip like this.   Of course, after 4-5 days into our expected 10 day run, we will generally have to just deal with whatever we encounter as there won’t be any place to hide.  However, knowing that nasty stuff is coming will go a long way toward keeping us safe and moving as we will generally have time to prepare and develop a plan to deal with changing conditions.

Having worked with Chris Parker now for 6 years, I know that his daily briefings on the SSB radio and emails to me will give us the information I need to make informed decisions as we make our way south.

It’s looking like we will have settled weather as we depart Hampton and I am hopeful that this is the sort of sunset that we will enjoy for the first few days.  After that, who knows but I am optimistic that all that I have done to be sure that Pandora is in good shape for the run will pay off.

Let’s hope that the days of gales that Pandora and her crew endured last January on our run from Beaufort to the BVIs aren’t repeated.  This shot of a wave passing under Pandora doesn’t do justice to what sailing along in 20′ waves felt like.  My crew, Chris and Jim arrive today and tomorrow and it will be good to get together a few days before we depart so we can get settled in and be sure that everything is ready to go when we depart.

I am very hopeful that we will have a good and speedy run and that by mid November we will be snug at anchor in Falmouth harbor Antigua enjoying a Carib beer while enjoying the nighttime views of the harbor. So, while we prepare for our run, you too can get ready by bookmarking the Ocens site which will track each one of the 70 boats in the Salty Dawg Rally fleet making the run along with Pandora.  Just click here and put in SDR in the “group” area.  Each boat is required to transmit their position twice daily, in the morning and evening.  Twice a day not enough for you?  Check out “where in the world is Pandora” on this site for position reports every two hours.  And, you can even right click on any “spot” along the way to see how fast, or not, we were going when that position was reported.

Well, this morning, as Antigua Port Captain, will be presenting to the fleet on what’s in store once we arrive.  They’d better have fun as they know who to talk to.

Yes, I’d better sign off for now.  Lot’s to do and Antigua beckons.

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