Slow Boat to…

t’s Saturday morning, the sun is just up over the eastern horizon and we are, well, we are a long way from just about anything, especially home.  While we are about two thirds of the way home, we are still a little more than 500 miles from our destination.

But, to put a positive spin on things, we are only about a day away from feeling the first effects of the Gulf Stream.   Somehow, reaching The Stream will be a milestone of sorts.   By the same token, we are barely past Bermuda and have still not reached the latitude of Cape Hatteras so there is still a long way to go.

To say that the last 24 hours has been uneventful is an understatement as there has been VERY LITTLE WIND but with that has also come very calm seas, which I suppose, is a nice change.    Yesterday we crossed a small ridge of low pressure which brought clouds and a bit of rain but it also put us into a windless area north of the ridge.

Actually, when I listened to the SSCA trans-Atlantic net last evening Chris Parker, who was acting as net control for the evening, said that the windless area, uncharacteristically, extended just about all the way across the Atlantic to Europe, bringing with it light winds nearly everywhere, an unusual occurrence this early in the season.   While it’s a bummer to be motoring along at a snail’s pace, at least we have plenty of fuel to continue on wind or not.

As I write this, one of our three tanks of fuel just ran out so I had to switch the tank and re-prime the engine so it would start again.  All better now.

Back to the trans-Atlantic folks.   Some of the other boats that checked into the net were headed to the Azores, making their way to the Mediterranean for the summer season. Given the distance, they don’t have much of an option except to slowly sail along in light air, waiting for the wind to fill in sometime next week.  As you can imagine, most cruising boats don’t have enough fuel to motor all the way “across the pond.”

With true wind speed at about 5kts, we obviously can’t sail but as long as it’s not right on our nose, we can get some lift in boat speed between motor and sails.   Unfortunately, with motoring speed well below sailing speed, try under 6kts, as we have to run at a low RPM to conserve fuel.  This combined with a modest adverse current of half to a full knot against us makes for low over-the-bottom speed.  It’s doubly frustrating after sailing for so many miles at near double digit speeds earlier I the trip.  However, all and all, it’s a beautiful morning as we make our leisurely way north.

On the one hand, I wish that there was more to report but I am happy to have a few unexciting days.   If I could send photos, I’d surely include shots of some impressive bruises, compliments of my trip up the mast.  They are still plenty big turning an impressive deep purple with some lovely lighter highlights.   It’s safe to say that the cumulative effect of all the bruises, perhaps more than a square foot in the aggregate is impressive.   Perhaps more impressive, is that I am still “with you” at all.

Yesterday we were talking about my “quick up and down the mast” trip and Bob commented that he’d wished he had a camera to record the moments that I was flying around the mast, arms and legs extended wildly, somehow trying to get a grip on a shroud, sail, anything to get myself under control.   He said he was shocked by the violence of my movements.  (I’m paraphrasing here but you get the drift).

Anyway, both the memory and bruises are slowly fading along with the waves.

And, speaking of sail repair, we decided to pull down the main yesterday to inspect our handiwork and were happy to see that the lashings are in perfect condition, with no signs of chafe or loosening.    As soon as I am home I am going to pull all the sails off of the boat and take them for servicing, probably in Annapolis at the Quantum loft where they were made.  It’s not that far from Rob’s home in Baltimore and we will be heading that way soon enough.

When will we arrive home?  Hard to say but it’s looking like sometime Wednesday and that depends, in part, on the Customs guys and whether or not they will clear us over the phone or if we will have to go to them.

So, here we are, poking our way north at a pace that feels more like drifting than a happy romp in the trades.  Clearly, for the moment and perhaps for much of the rest of the trip, we are really on a slow boat to…home.

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