It’s Sunday morning and Pandora is in Hampton with the rest of the fleet for the Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean, in my case, to Antigua.
I can’t believe that I am finally here and almost ready to go. It’s been a wild summer beginning when I left Pandora in Deltaville, culminating with all the work that was done on Pandora in Annapolis.
It’s been a few crazy days here in Hampton after arriving on Wednesday with meetings every day with skippers and crew, departure dinners and other events keeping us busy. The marina is filled to capacity and we had over 250 skippers and crew at our departure dinner on Thursday.
With an expected departure tomorrow, I wish that I was confident that the trip will be an easy one. Normally, our goal is to get as far east as possible before turning south to catch the trade winds for Antigua. however, this year it is very different with a system expected to develop to the east that will have strong south winds, basically on the nose that will make it impossible to head to Antigua for the second half of the trip.
Our strategy for the first half of the trip will be to head basically south toward the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico, much farther west than normal, and continue on that course to see what develops later in the week.
The hope is that conditions will improve to allow us to head farther east but at this point it’s not looking great. This means that we may be forced to either stop in the DR or to continue upwind from there to Antigua, an unappealing option to be sure.
It’s a bit too soon to really know what the wind will be as the weather patterns this year are very different than anything we have encountered in past passages so I guess we will just have to get out there and see what happens.
Brenda and Jane, wife of Peter, one of my crew, plan on flying to Antigua on November 17th and that now seems like it might be good timing as we really don’t know what our passage will be like and given all of the uncertainty, it is very hard to know when we will end up in Antigua and if we will have to stop somewhere else along the way.
We have another weather briefing later today from Chris Parker and I am hoping that things will become clearer. For now, I guess that’s all I can report.
As in the past you can follow along on my Garmin page at this link.
There is also a fleet tracking page that shows the track for every boat in the fleet that you can see here.
For now, here’s Pandora in her slip in Hampton. All systems are pretty much ready to go, provisioning is mostly done and we are anxiously waiting more information, hopefully good, on what to expect when we depart.