On our way home.  Making time.

We have been underway for about 24 hours and have covered about 150 miles or so, an average speed of about 6kts, a respectable speed but not as good as I would normally expect.

My crew, Mike and George are settling in and we are all spending a lot of time reading and just hanging out.  During the day, there is no formal watch schedule and everybody just keeps an eye on things.  At night we split up time on deck with one watch going from 8:00 to midnight and then a second watch till 3:00 and then I come on for the final watch before it gets light around 6:00.  It’s an easy time when conditions are calm and having one on deck is fine unless things get dicey like needing to put in a reef when it’s good to have another on hand.For much of the run we expect that the winds will be light and while we had to put in a reef last night and were doing better than 8kts much of the time, since just before dawn the wind has been behind the beam and has dropped to about 10kts.   After more than a year, I broke out the big Code 0 headsail so we are now going a bit faster, 5-6kts. The winds for the trip, util we approach the Gulf Stream, are not expected to be very strong, so I don’t expect to make big mile days.  Anything upwards of 170 to 190 miles a day is considered fast but I don’t expect to do that for the next few days at least.  Once we get north of Bermuda, we may encounter some adverse strong winds so it’s hard to say how that part of the trip will work out.

It is still early in the season and cold fronts continue to roll off the NE Coast every few days. They are getting generally weaker than in the winter but still pack a punch with strong N and NE winds that will make it tough for us to make our way for the last few hundred miles.

Of course, that is a week from now so who knows what the timing of the fronts will be as we make our way north.

We were a day late in leaving due to repairs to the engine cooling system and are playing catch up with the rest of the fleet.  However, I am so pleased not to have to worry about the engine (I hope).  As we have been sailing much of the time since we left yesterday, I have not really tested the repairs.

I am so pleased that I was able to get a tech to pull the water pump and replace the seals. I was particularly happy to see that the pump itself is in fine shape and should not have to be replaced any time soon.

Slow or not, we seem to be catching up with the rest of the fleet that left a day earlier as our wind at the beginning of the trip seems to be a bit stronger than the earlier boats had.

Starlink is working well although it takes more time to boot up, about 10-15minutes, than it takes when we are sitting at anchor.  However, once it stabilizes the reception is amazing so I will be able to put up my posts myself instead of sending them as emails to someone on shore as I have done in the past.  And, I can also put a few photos up, which will make it a bit more interesting, I hope.  I spoke with our son Rob this morning and he was amazed to hear how clear the call was.   Me too.

I have to watch my usage as it can add up quickly, even at $2gb.  I had a total of 50gb included in my monthly allowance before the bill goes over $250 but I did not realize that my phone and iPad were backing up to the cloud so I burned all of my data in a few days of usage. Live and learn.

Starlink is an amazing service but there are still a lot of kinks to work out regarding how they charge for usage as they continue to tweak the plan and what is included in the monthly fee.  It is interesting that it takes a lot longer to boot up at sea than when are anchored.  I guess it has more difficulty in finding the satellites. And, after I had it turned off for a few weeks it took about a half hour before it was working, as it downloaded software updates, perhaps the location of the satellites.  Who knows but after that, it worked really well.

I expect that by next fall, they will have worked things out and there will be an affordable package that will work for me and other cruisers.   For now, I have to suck it up, on the over charges, and hope for the best.  I plan on suspending the plan for the summer and hopefully by October all the kinks will be worked out so I can really understand what I am paying for an what it will cost to use the system.

Well, one day out we are reeling off the miles at a steady pace.  It’s nice to look out the back of the boat and see the tropics setting over the horizon.

We’re heading home, making time and that’s a good thing. Let’s hope that the next few days are as easy as our first day out of St Thomas.

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