It’s Tuesday morning and we are at, well at a point that’s about as far from land as we will get for the entire trip. We have traveled more than 750 miles since leaving Hampton and are 250 miles from Bermuda and 500 or more from just about everywhere tera-firma. (did I spell that right?). For those with a map and care about such things, our coordinates are 28.28N and 66.47W.
I am happy to say that after more than a day, several days actually, of winds, better described as zephyrs, in the single digits, we are now sailing along in winds of about 10-13kts on a close reach, doing 7-8kts through the water. Oddly, we have been bucking a 1kt adverse current for several days now so our progress isn’t as good as the speedo suggests.
It’s funny how complete one’s focus becomes on the wind speed and direction and with every increase of a few knots of wind, hope that perhaps it will hold and signal that we are approaching the area where the easterly trade winds will begin to strengthen. While we are still over 100 miles from the coordinates, 27N and 65W where Chris Parker suggests that stronger trades will set in, we are hopeful that a lighter and faster boat like Pandora will continue to find wind strong enough to continue sailing.
As Pandora’s speed approaches 7kts, she begins to emit a gentle hum, a sure sign that she’s come alive and is happy to be moving again.
After hours and days of motoring, it’s wonderful to hear nothing but the gentle hum of Pandora moving through the water and the sound of the ocean whooshing along the hull. As an added benefit, she is able to attain a good turn of speed at 10 degrees or less of heel. With some luck, our wind will hold and allow us to sail much of the remaining distance to the “Chris Parker, OFFICIAL, well at least for today, the official area where we will be solidly under the influence of the trades. One can always hope…
After a constant parade of ships for the first few days after we departed Hampton, we have only seen one or two show up on the AIS tracker for several days now and only one small boat, another member of the Salty Dawg Rally fleet, within the VHF hailing distance of about 15 miles, the normal limit of a VHF signal.
I’m tempted to say that it’s weird to look out to the horizon and see absolutely nothing, day after day. However, on every one of my offshore runs, after getting more than a hundred or so miles from shore, this is normal. So, here we are in the deep blue sea, hour after hour, day after day, and all that passes by Pandora is indigo ocean waters and puffy white clouds marching their way across the sky.
With the full moon a few days ago, the nighttime sky has been brilliantly bright, casting sharp shadows on the boat and beaming into the portholes, tricking you into believing that someone is shining a flashlight as you try to sleep.
All and all, the moon and stars have made for night watches that pass easily. Oh yeah, and the new cockpit enclosure has been terrific, keeping out the nighttime dew and salt. With all the motoring we have also been liberal with the use of the watermaker and I have to tell you that a warm nighttime shower in the cockpit, while not quite as wonderful as a teenage skinny dip, it’s pretty close.
I have to admit that all of this does seem even better as we now know that we are likely to sail much of the way on the second half of the trip, pushed along by the more predicable trades than the fickle winds nearer to shore that have caused so much frustration for the first half of our trip.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Just before I left I activated Sirius radio so while I do my chores each day and prepare meals aboard Pandora I have been listening to BBC World Radio. How civilized. Yes, indeed.
Today I spoke to Brenda again, compliments of Glenn on KPK radio. Now, that was a treat…
Perhaps again tomorrow. .. Yes, that would be nice.
Yes, we are pretty far from just about everything but I can still (sort of) talk to Brenda. “static, crackle, pop… Good morning Brenda… static, crackle, pop…..Over…?
And, while it was hard to hear exactly what she was saying, it made me feel, even though I am so far from everything, just a little closer to her.
Ok,I’ll admit that I am blushing as I proof this but it’s how I feel. So there…