N 46 21 W
The last 24 hours has presented us with
considerably lower winds and with that much lower seas..,…end of sleep
deprivation! Now experiencing about 15 kts of wind out of the South-East which
has had us on a near beam-reach for the last 12 hours at about 7 kts. This
being “closer on the wind” has allowed us to keep speed up somewhat
but still a significantly lower distance achieved each hour. It has changed our
orientation from being focused on how to manage all that excess wind power to us
now needing to pay a lot of attention to the finer points of sail trim to get
best boat speed from what wind is available.
It looks like we are not going to get to
use our spinnaker which has been lashed to the foredeck since La Gomera. The
lighter winds now being experienced would make it more viable to attempt to
manage the deployment and use of the spinnaker with a short handed (and short
experienced) crew….BUT…the wind angle knocks out any utility of
going to the big chute.
We believe we will have enough fuel
on-board to add engine power to the sails at a distance of about 500 nm
remaining and this motor sailing will get us back to the higher averages we had
earlier enroute of 8.5 – 9.0+ kts of speed over ground for that
remaining distance. As for St
Lucia arrival timing, a lot depends on wind
between now and that potential “start engine” point which is almost
400 miles ahead. Best guess at present is daybreak on the 23rd (will
have to see if our creative son, Ian, can discover a way to still deliver on
his earlier stated guarantee of a Dec 22 arrival….definitely now less
likely). This still means a crossing time from Canaries to the Caribbean in less than 14 days which is far better than
our hoped for estimates of our making it in less than 18 days. Now the debate
will be whether to use the fuel or accept a later arrival.
The Rodney Bay Marina confirmed a
reservation for our arrival on the 24th but said that they might not
be able to take us before that since the ARC officially closes on the 22nd
and those ARC boats (some portion of the 215 boats) need to move on to other
islands for Christmas so that Rodney Bay has room for boats like us who were
not in the ARC. There is anchorage available and this morning I heard one of
our fellow cruisers say on the daily net that they had anchored in Martinique
at daybreak this morning; Maritinique is right next to St Lucia so there are options at both Islands for arrival anchorages.
DTG 917 nm.