I wanted to begin the post with the title, Next Stop Home!, but as we head out from Antigua on our first day of what will be a passage of more than 1,500 miles, I really don’t know if we will be able to make the run without stopping in Bermuda. I have sent in all the needed information to Bermuda customs, just in case we have to stop but I’d really like to just keep going.
The first few days should involve some pretty brisk sailing with 20kts with gusts to 25kts, on the beam. These are just about ideal for Pandora as she clips along at better than 9kts.
Last week I cleaned the bottom for the first time in a month and it had gotten pretty messy. Even though I had been underway for a good portion of the time, things had gotten pretty slimy. Two days ago I decided to check it out again and while it wasn’t too bad, I decided to go over it all again. The good news is that it only took a half hour verses the hour that it normally takes me when things are a bit more advanced.
The last week was a whirlwind of activity getting ready to leave, attending events and getting ready for George and Bob, my crew, to arrive.
Last season I ran into a group, the Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua and Barbuda. I wrote about them a few times (just put Tot into the search bar and the posts will come up). Forgive me but I can’t put in a link to the particular posts via SSB radio. Anyway, I decided that I just had to join the group.
Becoming a full member of the Tot club involves learning a good deal about Lord Nelson’s most important battles along with other details of British Navy History. It also means that over a period of 7 nights, I had to take a “full Tot” or about 2ozs of rum straight down in a single “go”. And twice, that involves a second Tot. That’s a lot of tots and I don’t have a lot of “reserve buoyancy” to absorb that much rum all at once and I’ll say that some evenings were not all that pretty. At one point, Brenda said that she was looking forward to getting a late evening call from me that didn’t involve some slurred words. Me too. Along with all this “totting” I had to take an oral exam from one of the “totters”.
So, after a massive amount of anxiety and totting, I passed and am now a full member of the group. The experience was great fun and along the way I was able to spend time on some magnificent yachts and visit one member’s home with a fabulous view overlooking Falmouth harbor. When I get home, I’ll post some photos of me and some of the other members. It’s a wonderful group of folks.
I won’t go into any additional detail for now so stay tuned.
So, back to our departure. We left this morning, Sunday, at around 09:30 and are now about 30 miles north of Antigua, moving along at a brisk 8.5-10kts toward home.
As is so often the case when we are on passage, things break and this trip will surely prove to be no different. I can say that with confidence as we have already had our first breakage, a batten pocket holder near the mast. It’s broken before and I am at a loss as to how to avoid it. I won’t go into much detail except to say that I had to drill a hole in the unit and put a bolt and washers with the hope of stabilizing it. However, I am not optimistic that the repair will hold for very long as it’s already looking suspect. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve, from past experience and am sure that I will be up on deck again soon for another go at stabilizing things. Such is blue water passage making.
I have been staying close to Chris Parker, our weather router, for the last few days and he says that the weather forecast for the area north of Bermuda still is a bit unclear but we are hopeful that we will be able to avoid a stop in Bermuda and continue on to Montauk in a single leg.
We expect that the sailing over the next few days will be about like it is now and after that the wind will clock to the SE and ultimately the south which means that we will find ourselves going somewhat slower than our current clip.
There is a cold front coming off of the US East coast later this week and the exact timing remains somewhat unclear. However, as we get closer we’ll have a much better feel for what sort of conditions we will encounter. As our Gulf Stream crossing will be at one of its widest points, hitting adverse currents at some point is probably inevitable.
I know it’s only the first day and we are nearly 1,500 miles from home but I can’t help but speculate on when we will arrive. If we keep going at this rate for at least a few days and don’t have to stop in Bermuda, we should round Montauk sometime on Monday or Tuesday of next week. That’s pretty fast sailing.
Brenda’s been hard at work getting the house and garden in shape for the summer and I can’t wait to see all that. She told me this morning that we have at least four bird nests around the house and that’s surely a sign that spring is really here, or should I say there.
For now I guess it’s time to start thinking about what I am going to make for dinner.
Oh yeah it’s pretty hot down below as we have to button things up tightly to keep the spray outside where it belongs.
I expect that before we know it I’ll be grousing about how cold we are. Ne