Two Days of Perfect Wind

It’s been a bit over 24 hours since we left Hampton, VA, on Thursday morning and we have covered about half of the 350 miles toward home at a speed of just under 7kts.  That’s not bad given the fact that we ran the engine until noon yesterday and for much of the rest of the time we have been dead downwind with only the mainsail up to move us along.

The jib doesn’t work well when the wind is directly behind us as the boom tends to slam around in the lee of the main.  I need to talk to the designer or perhaps a rigger to see what we can rig up to keep the jib boom under control.  Of course, one option would be a whisker pole but I don’t particularly like the idea of having to go forward when things get dicey to pull it in.   Having the jib poled out would speed us up a bit but perhaps we are fast enough anyway.  I generally don’t find myself motor sailing much to keep our speed up so perhaps that’s the answer.

The wind has been  directly astern and running in the high teens and now low 20s.  That sounds like a lot of wind but as we are now moving dead down wind at about 8kts, the apparent wind is not bad at all.  Pandora tracks very well under these conditions in spite of waves that are in the 6-8′ range and the autopilot handles it just fine.   I am happy to report that the pilot is behaving well as the “crazy Ivan” problem that we had when the plotter failed seems have been resolved now that the new plotter is in place.

I don’t know when we are likely to round Montauk, at the eastern tip of Long Island but It’s probably going to be around 03:00 tomorrow.  It might even be sooner by a few hours as the wind is supposed to freshen to the mid 20s with gusts around 30, again from the same direction, so our speed will probably be in the 8kt range for much of the trip going forward.

As I think about some sort of pole to hold the jib out, I can’t help but imagine having to pull it in and stow it in 8′ seas and gusts to 30kts.  That doesn’t sound like fun to me.

Yesterday, just before dark, we were visited by a large pod of dolphins, perhaps 30 or so.  They darted around Pandora for about a half hour before vanishing as quickly as they arrived.  The pod was made up of adults and juveniles with some that were quite small swimming along with their mothers.  As you’d expect, it was mostly the “kids” that leapt high into the air as the raced back and forth down the side of Pandora.  My crew, Jim and Charlie were as thrilled as I was to enjoy the spectacle.   And, try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to capture any of them doing acrobatics, the dolphins, not Charlie or Jim, of course.

As we rounded the tip of the DE/MD peninsula to make our way north yesterday we hugged the coastline much of the way and in spite of being about 10-12 miles off the coastline, I had cell coverage until late afternoon.  I wasn’t expecting that as in past years it’s been rare to have coverage that far out.  Oddly, in the Caribbean coverage generally extended up to 15 miles from shore, probably because the towers are so high up on the mountains.  Of course, the coastline of the U.S. is a lot less mountainous so you’d expect the signal to not go out as far.  However, in spite of that, it seems like it’s better than in past years.  Perhaps the technology has improved.  Oddly though, coverage at our home is still terrible, even with a booster installed in the attic.  Go figure.

Anyway, we are having a great sail with steady winds pushing us along our way.  At this point, we expect to carry favorable and plenty strong winds all the way into Long Island Sound.   It’s hard to say if we will make it there soon enough to catch the last of the flood tide that ends tomorrow morning at 04:30 or if we will have to buck the strong ebb all the way once we round Montauk.

For now, we are enjoying what will likely be two days of near perfect sailing as we make our way the 350 miles from Hampton home.
My plan is to take Pandora directly to Deep River, up the CT River and have her hauled for at least 6 weeks so I’ll have time to get some projects completed after a long winter of wear and tear and some 4,000 mile of sailing.   I may do some short trips with Brenda over to Long Island and perhaps Newport with friends but that assumes that I get the guest bathroom remodeled.  Not sure how that’s going to be finished as soon as I’d like as it’s nearly July and I haven’t done much in that department.  Oh well, I’d better get cracking.

I guess that’s it for now.  Sorry, not pictures as my SSB modem is just too slow to send large files over the SSB radio when I am outside of cell range.  My routine is to send the text to Brenda who will post it.
Until Saturday

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