After days of near perfect, if wet, sailing in brisk winds, we are now settling in for a few days of motoring close hauled in 10kts or less.
We knew that we’d have this “transition zone” with very light winds to contend with but it looks like it’s going to be a larger zone than we had anticipated.
As of last evening at 1700 we cranked up the engine and here we are, at nearly noon the next day, still motorsailing along. Based on the most current weather files, it looks like we will be doing just that until perhaps late Friday or early Saturday.
At that point, we hope to be able to sail again as the trade winds fill in from the east. They are expected to be brisk and will build as we head farther south so it is quite possible that we will end up in winds in the upper 20s on a close reach which will make for fast if wet and bumpy sailing.
If things play out according to the “plan of the moment,” then we should arrive somewhere between Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
That’s good as conditions several hundred miles north of Antigua will begin to deteriorate for the boats that left after us or are slower.
At this point we are slowly creeping up through the fleet so that now most of the boats are behind us. Well, at least a lot of them. Most of those ahead of us left earlier in the day or the day before.
Part of our growing lead has to do with the speed of Pandora but some of it stems from my willingness to turn on the engine in marginal conditions to keep moving. Others are not able to do so as they just don’t carry enough fuel and nobody wants to run out.
With regards to running out of fuel, never say never, but I have 180 gallons on board and probably burn around .65 to .70 GPH which gives me a range under power of more than a week of running.
Sadly, our early speeding along has turned into clawing our way in light winds so I am afraid that a record passage, for Pandora at least, isn’t all that likely.
However, after all the hand wringing about getting to Antigua by Thanksgiving is no longer a huge risk, ten days at sea is still a pretty big deal.
Now I have to sort though my desire to head home after arrival against the need to be supportive of the fleet and not bolt the moment I arrive.
Nope, not likely to be our fastest trip but faster than some other boats and that’s something.