Underway at Last…Deltaville, Here We Come!

It’s Tuesday afternoon and we have been underway since 10:00 this morning.  After two days in a marina with the AC running, I have to say that it is hot.  Try 90 degrees down below.

As we have to keep Pandora buttoned up to avoid having the occasional wave find it’s way down below, it really doesn’t cool down much in the cabin.  As the engine is under the galley, all the heat from that mass of iron radiates into the cabin for hours after it’s turned off.

Eventually, it cools off a bit but then we have to run the engine again to charge the batteries and the cycle starts all over again.  Hopefully, once I have a new battery bank and a wind generator, I will not have to run the engine quite as much.  Of course, all this assumes that there is wind.

And there is, wind that is, about 15 kts on the beam.  A lovely point of sail. The sea state is reasonable and Pandora is tracking well at about 8 kts, a a respectable turn of speed.

I tried to set up the wind vane steering today and gave up after a while.  I guess I am out of practice.  Perhaps tomorrow.  It is a good way to cut down on electrical consumption compared to using the electronic autopilot, so I don’t have to recharge quite as often.

I am always amazed about how much has to be done to get ready to head offshore.  Moving from island to island means that we have to put everything away that might come loose and break or crash around down below.  However, at sea for days at a time, there are so many unknowns that we have to prepare for just about everything.   Big waves, rough conditions, high winds, you name it…

While I don’t put the dink on deck when we are moving between islands, offshore I deflate it and put it up on deck, securely lashed to the cabin top.  The engine is put in it’s holder on the stern pulpit and the sailcover is securely lashed out of the way to avoid any sort of chafing.

Between that, changing the engine oil and filters along with checking for loose fittings and belts that might be worn, and grocery shopping for two weeks of meals at sea, it takes a full two days to get everything in order.

And, of course, ultimately it’s about the weather. In preparation for the departure of the rally, about 20 boats strong, Chris Parker spent about an hour last night and Sunday going over what we should expect to encounter along the way.

I won’t go into a lot of detail except to say that we are currently heading due north and not directly to the Chesapeake to avoid a very nasty line of thunderstorms that are directly in our path.  By heading north for a few days and then bearing off to the northwest, we will hopefully avoid the front and then have a better angle of wind to head the rest of the way.

That isn’t much out of our way and I am hopeful that we will have a straight shot to the Chesapeake after perhaps Thursday.

With all of this in mind, and if the wind holds for most of the trip, we should arrive at the mouth of the Chesapeake sometime next Wednesday.

That would be a pretty good passage of about 1,400 miles.

So, all is well and soon I’ll begin getting dinner ready.  A rotisserie chicken, chilled, over greens.  A good first-day-at-sea dinner.

More tomorrow about how it’s going.

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