Antigua or bust! On our way.

At 09:00 today Pandora slipped her lines to head for Antigua.  The weather forecast suggests that we will be motoring much of the way and I am cautiously optimistic that we will have enough fuel to make landfall in Antigua as planned, perhaps about ten days from now.

Here’s her able crew, Chris, Jim and me just before departure, all smiles. The big question is if we will have enough wind to sail at least part of the way as the winds are forecast to be quite light, in the 10kt range for much of the run.  I expect that as long as we have a little wind from a good angle, not on the nose, we should be able to squeeze as much as 1,400 of the 1,500 miles with the engine running.  However, as what little wind that is forecast is likely to be from a favorable sailing angle for close reaching, we should be able to make it.

Here’s what Chris said about boats like Pandora regarding the wind in his message to the fleet last evening…

When to depart?

The following vessels could depart Thu2:
–vessels able and willing to motor 80% of trip
–vessels desiring to go to Bermuda
vessels easily driven in light air, especially those with “Code-0” sail for extremely light upwind work (these vessels may be able to sail up to 50% of trip)
–vessels on a tight schedule which meet sufficient above criteria to reach intended destination (i.e. sufficient fuel and/or refuel in BDA and/or sail well upwind in extremely light air).

Vessels which do not meet the above may wish to consider delaying departure until there’s more wind for sailing.

Next opportunity with high probability of more wind for sailing would be departure at whatever time appropriate to reach GulfStream EXIT near 34N/74W (200mi from mouth of ChesapeakeBay / about 230mi from Hampton) sometime btwn Sunset and Midnight Mon6 night.”

Yes, it looks like there will be more wind for sailing if boats wait until next Monday to depart but that would likely strain my crew and would certainly not be appealing to Brenda who will be arriving in Antigua on the 15th.    However, Pandora fits into the “easily driven with big sails” category so perhaps we will get lucky and be able to sail a good amount of the way.  50%?  That would be awesome.

All and all, I’d like to make the trip with more wind but just don’t want to hang around Hampton for another 4-5 days so off we go.  And, I have to say that a light wind passage would be a treat after our 4.5 days of gales last January on our way to the BVIs.  That’s something that’s fun to talk about but I’d prefer to avoid a repeat this year.

I agree that the most dangerous thing to have on a boat is a schedule and I agree.  However, there is no particular danger in leaving today with the obvious  risk of running out of fuel.  However, I’d rather drift around for a day or so if we just find ourselves feeling stressed about fuel than to delay a few more days.

Besides, as Chris Parker has said so many times in the past, “well, that’s a long way out and the forecast could change”.  Me, I hope it does change so that the trades fill in sooner than expected.

Yup, that’s me, ever hopeful.

Oh yeah, one more thing.  Brenda misses her gardens while we are away so she sent some plants down with Jim.  I planted them in a “window box” and am hopeful that they will survive the trip.  After this post, done within cell range, I’ll be sending my posts to Brenda who will put them up.  Alas, it’s tough to send photos so let’s hope that my prose will make up for a lack of pictures.

Of course, don’t forget to follow us on this site as well as on the rally site.  So refer to my last posts for details on how to do that if it’s not already clear.

So, for now all I can say is “Antigua or bust” or should I say until Pandora’s outof fuel.

Until tomorrow…


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