Dec. 10 and we finally depart. We had a lot of engine problems that are all resolved. A cool, sunny day with no wind. We are motoring with autopilot and also have a chart plotter and radar. We are able to stay below where it’s warm. The large windows of the pilot house offer excellent visibility.
It was getting cold in Maryland with ice on the windshield of the rental car most mornings. We both expected and prepared for a few very cold days at sea. I have thermal underwear, sweats, sweaters, wool socks, rubber boots, and rain coat. Oxford, MD is at 38 degrees north latitude, the same as San Francisco. What a surprise when we were in shorts and tee shirts on the second day.
On our second day out we were in the Gulf Stream, a strong northerly current that follows the coast. It’s exact location varies and is difficult to judge. It’s like a big, strong flowing river in the ocean. You can’t see it, but you can feel the effects. We had no wind and were motoring east. Suddenly the water temperature rose from the 60s to 79. We kept watching for cold water again, but never found any. We were pushed quite a bit north.
The next day, we were still motoring on calm seas. I caught and cooked a small fish. We think the locals call them “Blues.” It was tasty. In the late afternoon, the wind started to blow and were were sailing east all night.
The next day the wind was increasing to 20 kts. From the south. This was exactly the direction we want to go. We were able to continue on a SE course. We reduced sail area and were moving nicely at 7 – 8 kts. Sailors call going upwind (or as close as you can get to upwind) “Beating.” There’s a good reason for that. The boat heals and you live at an angle while the boat slogs through the waves. Anything not tied down falls off counters. Water that splashes on deck can find its way below, making floors slippery. All you can do is try to be as comfortable as possible. The boat continued to make good progress east, but little to the south.
As we neared Bermuda, it was clear that the wind would not let us pass to the south. We decided to spend the night near Bermuda and stop there the next morning. That’s where we are now. We are tending to some maintenance and waiting for favorable winds. Saturday afternoon may be the best time to leave. Friday will be a repeat of the 20 kt. Southerlies. There’s no need to fight that.
Next stop. St Thomas. Probably about a week from now.