Atlantic Ocean Day 7 Noon Position 30:29.207N 76:56.909W
Bill and Judy Stellin
Thu 8 May 2008 20:20
Are we flying or what. Finally after two light wind days, we have SW winds of about 15-18 kts. We are sailing WNW so it is a wonderful beam reach.
Plus, we are crossing the Gulf Stream and going slightly with it, so that adds to our speed over the ground.
We have a full main and full genoa with the genoa polled out on the same side as the main. It is a perfect combination. In the lulls, the genoa doesn't collapse as it would if it were not on the pole. I am sure it adds at least half a knot of speed, by just having it stable.
Right now we are 155 miles from Charleston. We are ever so glad we chose Charleston over Bermuda.
There are three accepted routes from Tortola BVI's to the US east coast.
One is to follow the Bahamas, then alongside Florida and north either off shore or the Intercoastal to the Chesapeake. This is the longest route.
The second is to go to Bermuda, which is a trade wind sail for almost all the way and makes it very popular. Trouble is, leaving Bermuda shouldn't be done until late May or early June because of very bad weather that one can encounter along the route to the US if you leave too early in the year. Our friend Marc on Songline, another J/42 says, "OK weather is not good enough, it has to be perfect for several days". Waiting could be days or weeks. This is the second longest route.
The third route, the one we are on, is a rhumb line course directly from Tortola to Charleston or Beaufort (1200 nautical miles). This is the least popular because it is all open ocean sailing with only a portion in the trades. When you leave the trades the winds become very light as we experienced. Don Street, in his "Sailing Directions" says about this route, " Only boats that sail well, and have crews willing to do a lot of sail changes should use this route."
Guess what, Jaywalker is the best damn sailboat for this job and Judy and I have been doing lots of sail changes forever. Judy threatens a frontal lobotomy if I suggest one more spinnaker drill. Actually we chose this route because it is the shortest and no matter what people say, the least time in the open ocean, the better. In otherwords, get the bloody trip done quickly. We will do in one week, what would have taken two or three using the other routes.
I especially like ocean passages, so this is the desert for me after putting up with all those little islands in the Caribbean. Sailing between them is twice as difficult as sailing for a week in the ocean. We get into a regular routine and the days pass very quickly. We began our 7th day today at noon, and the days have seemed to fly by.
Now, our only problem is getting to Charleston in the dark. We've done lots of harbor entrances at night so it will be nothing new, but nevertheless, it can be hairy. All the aids to navigation lights blend in with shore and city lights so it can be very tricky finding them for safe passage around shoals and other dangers.
If we can keep our speed up, we might get there tomorrow late afternoon which would be perfect.
Lets hope mother nature does her part.
She might do too much for us. The weather grib files that I just downloaded show winds from behind us but at 25-30 right into the harbor.
We shall see.
Judy just reported seeing a ship way off in the distance. That makes only four we've seen in 1050 nautical miles.