Well, it’s official, we are in “northern climes” having crossed the Gulf Stream last evening.
I am always stunned as to how fast the weather changes when we enter the Gulf Stream and how different the temperature is on the north side, compared to the south of the Stream.
For nearly the entire trip north, now into our 9th day since leaving Antigua, we have been moving along with all the hatches well secured. As a result, it’s been very hot and stuffy in the cabin. This is partly because the engine is located under the galley and when it’s running, a good deal of heat radiates from the cabinet. Even after we shut down, the engine remains hot for many hours.
As a rule, we have been using fans with the hope of keeping cool off watch and often, that just isn’t enough to be comfortable.
The water temperature south of the GS tends to run in the low 80s, not much different than in the Caribbean, and that really doesn’t change until we pass out over the northern wall and into cooler New England waters.
We first began to feel the effects of the GS around the same latitude as the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay when we entered a “cold eddy” at 36 degrees and 55 minutes north, finally reaching the main flow of the Stream at around the same latitude as the Delaware Bay. Once we were solidly into the flow the water temperature was a pretty constant 82 degrees. The GS is about 50 miles wide in that area but still runs to the NE at a pretty good clip, I’d guess at about 2-3kts.
As we reached the waypoint that Chris Parker had given us for the north wall of the Stream, the temperature dropped, within less than an hour to 74 degrees and in the next hour to 68 degrees. Within the next few hours it made a big drop to 57 degrees.
It’s amazing to me that the Stream remains so well defined a thousand miles from where it passes southern Florida. The amount of energy that is being transferred northward is stunning.
So, after some 1,300 miles with near constant water and air temperatures, we are now into much cooler temperate conditions, and all that change within a few hours. Amazing.
While I have been cooking each day, usually a hot dinner and sometimes a hot lunch. I have been holding off on making biscuits, perhaps my favorite thing to eat aboard. I am a passable cook at best but I do make really good biscuits.
And, today, after a week and a half of dinners without much comment from the crew, this morning’s biscuits were scarfed down in short order. Well, it only took 1,300 miles but I finally found something that they really like, or at least that’s how it seemed. Perhaps it was a relief for them, finally…
Yesterday was a good day with 13 hours of great sailing. We covered a lot of distance, a welcomed change from all the motoring before the wind finally came up.
Remember that whole “shaft bearing” thing? It seems to be fairly stable but clearly will need love when I get back. However, there still remains an intermittent vibration in the shaft, from time to time.
Oddly, after motorsailing for hours through the Gulf Stream last night, we rolled out the jib to give us a little more speed and without making any change in RPM there was again a nasty vibration in the propeller shaft. It persisted, somewhat, after we stowed the jib again and finally smoothed out and has been running along happily for hours now.
I have no idea of what’s causing the problem. It might be a propeller shaft zinc that has worn and gotten loose, a loose zinc on the propeller or perhaps there’s still some sort of line or material on the prop. Of course, it could also be a worn cutlass bearing but that looked fine when Pandora went into the water last October.
One way or the other, I sure hope that things hold up until we reach home. I’d hate to lose the use of the engine with so little wind.
All and all, things are moving along nicely and it’s finally cool enough for biscuits.
It will also soon be time to go through the fridge and freezer to be sure that we don’t have any “contraband” food that will cause problems with Customs and the Agriculture folks if they decide to inspect the boat. I’ll be leaving a trail of food, including all vegetables and fruit as well as any frozen meat that isn’t labeled as having been blessed by the USDA.
Wish us luck with the engine but so far, so good, mostly. It’s always amazing to me how much can go wrong on a long passage but we are nearly there and should be back home perhaps as early as mid- afternoon Tuesday.
Wish you were aboard for a biscuit? Finally, it’s cool enough to bake.
And yes, Brenda, I do need a sweater.