Day 1 - Bahamas to Bermuda

Stravaig'n the Blue
Mon 25 Apr 2022 16:20
Position: 27:09.8 N 076:00.8 W (230 NM east of Fort Pierce, Florida)
Position timestamp: Monday 25 April 2022  09:00 (UTC-4 / EDT)
Distance travelled in last 24 hours: 121 NM at an average speed of 4.8 knots
Reduction in distance to destination: 104 NM
Remaining distance to destination: 670 NM

That was a hard first 24 hours in which to have to rediscover our sea legs - and disappointing progress to boot.

It usually takes us a couple of days to get used to being on the high seas again.  There’s the round-the-clock routine of maintaining the log book, keeping a look out for other vessels and monitoring the conditions, increasing or decreasing of sail area as the wind speed changes and anticipating how much sail to have up overnight when it is more difficult to carry out sail changes. And there’s the night watch routine where we alternate three hours on and three hours off with any missed sleep being grabbed during the day. The ideal start would be a downwind sail in a moderate breeze on flat water. Instead, we were headed into the wind, a fresh breeze and lumpy conditions. This meant quite a bit pitching and rolling as the boat made her way up and over, or in some cases through, the waves and having to do everything with the boat (and everything in her) heeled over at 20-25 degrees. Unsurprisingly this has had an impact on appetites.

We would usually expect to do 150 NM in 24 hours so 121 is a disappointing but can be explained. Sailing into the wind isn’t the fastest point of sailing and having to punch into the waves will have slowed us down too. Just before sunset the wind increased to 19-21 knots so we reduced sail area to compensate. When the wind dropped back a few hours later we took the decision to leave the sails as they were just in case the wind got up again and to provide more peaceful sleeping conditions. Last but not least there’s been quite a strong ocean current, up to 1.8 knots at times, a component of which has been pushing against us.

Having sailed 121 NM, we have only reduced the distance to our destination by 104 NM. Two things have contributed to this. The first is the ocean current which has been pushing us west when Bermuda lies to the north east. And the second is the fact that the easterly wind isn’t allowing us to sail directly to Bermuda. We are making ok progress north but poor progress east.

The wind continued to drop overnight and is now 10-14 knots. This means the seas are flatter as is the boat. Later today the wind is forecast to back to the north which will allow us to tack and start heading east.

All is well.