Atlantic Ocean Day 4 noon position 25:03.100N 71:06.800W

Bill and Judy Stellin
Mon 5 May 2008 19:22
The days are beginning to run together and I am not sure if I am not repeating myself.
Last night was very peaceful with winds about 15 knots and seas running about 3-4 feet.  We are still heading for the Carolinas although
right now the winds are so light we will have to alter course to keep going without using the motor.
Just before noon today we decided to put up the spinnaker to see if we could gain a little more speed. It was a big job because we had the genoa polled out with lots of different lines that wouldn't be used for the spinnaker, and which had to be cleaned up first.
Because of the incessant rolling, there was a real possibility of wrapping the spinnaker around the head stay which as you sailors know is a bad no-no.
We  put up with near wraps for about an hour and then packed it in and took it down.  The stress of watching a disaster almost happen was too much.  At one point we even took down the main so it wouldn't blanket it but that only slowed us down more.
Now we are back to wing and wing with the full genoa and main.  We are about to change course so as to gain a little more speed, but the quandary is which way to change to.  We are dead downwind now.  Altering to the right would put us on line for Bermuda again.  Going left would take us to Miami Florida.  Complicating all this is a frontal system approaching with northerly winds just about the time we may feel the effects of the Gulf Stream.  One never wants to be going north in the stream with a north wind blowing.  The wind against a 3 knot current can make conditions untenable.  So now we ponder (I'll do my pondering after I am done with this blog.)  How do we position ourselves given the current and expected weather conditions.
Yesterday, I listened to Herb on the high frequency radio (SSB).  Herb as many of you know, is the famous volunteer weather forecaster/router that sailors have been using for a couple of decades.  His service is free.  He takes your position and then tells you what is the best 24 hour route to maximize your speed,  comfort and safety.
Trouble is, he has about 70 boats that he monitors each day and talks to personally.  This strings out for almost 2 hours and waiting to hear about boats in your own area can take forever.  I used him on the first crossing by actually checking in. ( I was also publicly scolded for not explicitly following his directions).  Now, once bitten and twice shy,  I just listen and hope there is someone in our vicinity and going in the same direction.  There always is, but you have to listen to everyone over the 2 hours to find out who.
Some dingbat lady today took up his time asking for a forecast for a passage from Virgin Gorda to St Martin.  A distance of about 30 miles and islands you can see from each other on a reasonably clear day.  To top it off, she wasn't sure which day she was going this week, so howabout a weeks worth of forecast.  I'd a told her to bugger off.  He is very patient with ladies and quick to scold men that don't do what he suggests.
Another guy is Chris Parker who you subscribe to and it is quite expensive.      Like Herb, you can listen in free and glom on to a forecast for some boat near you. You just can't talk to him, or at least your not supposed to.  In an emergency, he will take calls from non-subscribers.
Because subscribers are paying for the service, no inane weather request is ever not asked.
Dinner last night was fabulous.  A little NY strip steak done perfectly in the broiler/oven.  Judy's meals are always great.  No matter what the conditions, we always have a hot, freshly cooked dinner that is the highlight of the day.
Well I've put off my pondering for as long as I can. Now I have to get to work and figure out what our next move will be.  Tomorrow you will find out if it worked or was worth it.
As an exercise, since you can see us on Goggle earth and I've already told you a little northerer is coming Wed. around Cape Hatteras, which way would you go.  Winds south of us will be light and eventually moving out of the SW.  By Thur. evening winds should be back out of the east
so this little disturbance will be short lived.  We travel about 170 miles a day.  Good luck.