Sail or motor....what would you do?

Wallace's Sailing Adventure on "Arbella"
Mike and Vicki Wallace
Tue 5 Nov 2013 09:35
28:35.9N 61:25.2W These first numbers are our Latitude and Longitude and
are the basis for the position plotted on the accompanying chart. We have
completed 6 days and are southeast of Bermuda, heading south to Tortola in
the BVI's. Good news....and bad news! Good news: we are avoiding
additional real rough weather coming from the north. Bad news: since we are
just ahead of the front we have almost no wind, so we need to motor, if we
want to stay ahead of the front, which is spreading to the south. So this
is a blog for Mr. Webb's 3rd grade class in Tampa, Florida, if they are
following along. The captain is facing some decisions....what should he do?
So here is a little more information...We have 650 miles to go, if we travel
straight down our rheum line to Tortola, BVI. Motoring, we are staying just
40 miles ahead of the front which is coming south at about our speed. If we
stop motoring and let the front catch us, we will see 25-30 knot winds and
10-12 feet seas, both coming from behind....not really challenging for
'Arbella' , but a bit uncomfortable for the crew (who might mutiny if they
are forced into more rough weather)! And if the front catches us, we can
secure the engine and sail for 2 days. We have 590 liters of fuel
remaining. We are presently motoring at 8.0 knots and burning 8.5 liters of
fuel per we travel 192 miles in a day! If we continue to motor,
we will likely see little wind all the way Tortola. And, we need to run the
generator 3 hours per day to make water through our reverse osmosis
watermaker, and the generator burns about 1.5 liters per hour of fuel. For
safety reasons, we should plan to arrive with at least 50 liters of fuel for
propulsion in an emergency or to get the boat to the dock. And it is hard
to know exactly how accurate our gauges are, so we should allow 25 liters
for gauge error. So the questions are: 1) do we have enough fuel to motor
all the way to Tortola? 2) should we stop motoring and let the front catch
us so we can save fuel and sail (and risk mutiny of the crew)? 3) do we
just keep motoring and hope for the best not sure whether we will run out?
These are real life questions for the class....and the calculations are
important for the safety of the crew. What would you do? The captain runs
these calculations in his head regularly at this stage!! Maybe this is a
test for the older kids and adults also....if Mr. Webb's class can do it,
you can too. For those who do not know....we did FaceTime with Mr. Webb
and his class during the "Crossing", last December, as we were sailing
across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia, 3,000 miles (see
the early blogs). The end on Friday....Captain Mike