Day One: 200 Miles!

While we all hear about the high performance “sleds” that make their way through the Southern Ocean at speeds that seem more fitting for a car than sailboat, it’s a rare cruising boat that can make more than 200 miles in a 24 hour period.  Many cruisers talk about achieving this feat now and again but often qualify their statement by saying that they had a current with them, like the fast moving Gulf Stream.

It’s not uncommon for Pandora to make speeds over the bottom of 9kts and even 10 when conditions are right.   As a rule, with winds on the beam of about 20kts, Pandora will easily reel off impressive speeds near double digits and to do this in waves in the 8-10′ range on the beam is even more impressive.

Well, from when we cleared the harbor in Falmouth yesterday at around 10:00 until 10:00 today we clocked just about 200 miles on the chart.  The log on the boat showed a bit more but I am going to check that off to calibration error.  Nevertheless, we have had a pretty good ride for our first day at sea.

The cockpit enclosure, while hot in the sun, has made things a lot more comfortable, keeping most of the spray from hitting us.   In these conditions Pandora is a pretty wet boat with water running down both windward and leeward decks and lots of spray hitting the dodger.

As a result, we have to keep the boat tightly buttoned up, meaning that all hatches and ports are closed.  This is pretty standard for us but sometimes I’ll crack the small hatch over the galley a bit when I am cooking to try and keep things a bit cooler down below.  With the surrounding water and air temperatures in the low 80s it’s warm aboard, especially if you are out of the breeze.

So, in spite of my rule of keeping all hatches tightly closed while underway, I left the small 10″ hatch in the galley open last evening while preparing dinner and was stunned when a wave swept over the deck and soaked me with several gallons of water that washed down the open hatch.   It left a real mess with water sloshing around on the counter, draining into the fridge and freezer and down on the floor.

It took me a good half hour to mop it all up and remove the salt that was everywhere.  And, after all that was done I had to shower off myself as I had been standing directly under the hatch when the wave hit so my head and clothes were completely soaked.    This is particularly problematic as we really can’t waste water while on passage as I can’t run the watermaker unless the engine is running.   The electrical load overnight with all the instruments running is just too much for the solar panels to make up the following day.

The biggest problem is that the engine, while great at charging the batteries quickly with 200 amp output, is located under the galley and makes the cabin that much hotter.

In any event, I’ll have to run the engine to charge things up and make some water today.  For sure, hot or not, I’ll  keep the hatches closed.

Salty or not, the sailing is great and we are making good progress on our way to Montauk.  I hope to talk to Chris Parker today to confirm that we are good to continue on our course or if we will have to divert to Bermuda.  I hope not.

Well, 200 miles under the keel and still a long way to go.

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