Day 2 - Bahamas to Bermuda

Stravaig'n the Blue
Tue 26 Apr 2022 18:26
Position: 29:05.65 N 074:49.7 W (310 NM east of Cape Canaveral, Florida)
Position timestamp: Tuesday 26 April 2022  09:00 (UTC-4 / EDT)
Distance travelled in last 24 hours: 139 NM at an average speed of 5.8 knots
Reduction in distance to destination: 109 NM
Remaining distance to destination: 561 NM (straight line) 600 NM (current route)

Our second day was altogether more comfortable than the first. The seas flattened out when the wind dropped into the low teens. The wind dropping wasn't necessarily a good thing but was compensated for by us picking up almost a knot of ocean current that was going in our direction. We also caught up on some lost sleep and our appetites have recovered.

When we set off from Spanish Wells our chosen route to Bermuda had four main legs: 230 NM in a northeasterly direction that would take us quite far north of the straight line route; 180 NM in an easterly direction that would take us just south of the straight line route; 170 NM running parallel with but south of the straight line route and then the final 240 NM to Bermuda. This route was the fastest suggested by our weather routing optimisation software. The route involved 24 hours of motoring during the second and third legs to get through a patch of calm. I was concerned that some bold assumptions were being made about the extent and direction of the calm patch and the winds beyond it, assumptions that could easily turn out to be incorrect and require significantly more motoring. However, as the first legs of all of the suggested routes were the same, we were comfortable with this option with the proviso that we’d check again as and when updated weather forecasts became available.

After emailing yesterday’s blog post I downloaded the latest weather files to find the calm patch I had grown in both size and duration and, had we continued with the original route, we would be motoring almost all of the rest of the way to Bermuda.

Using the latest forecast, the routing software was now showing that by continuing in a northeasterly direction for another 190 NM (mostly motoring) from the end of the first leg, there is a high degree of certainty that we will pick up some very good northerly through westerly winds coming in from the Carolinas some time late tomorrow. These will be perfect for the rest of the passage and the new route was duly adopted.

This means the length of the passage will be around 860 NM, 20 NM longer than our original route and 95 NM longer than the straight line route …. but still the quickest way of getting there.

On cue, just after midnight, the wind dropped from the low teens to not very much so we furled the headsail and started the engine. We expect to be motoring for about 30 hours. With 160 hours of diesel on board we are not going to run out.

There’s not a whole lot to report (which is why it’s all about the weather and our route). Yesterday morning we found a couple of stowaways - two flying fish that had misjudged their trajectory and landed in the cockpit. There was also the scaly evidence of a third on the side deck but it looks as though it managed to flap itself back into the water.  We have crossed a few shipping lanes where the chartplotter comes alive with the projected courses and icons of big ships. Even when our paths cross quite close these ships usually pass in silence.  However, last night in the space of half an hour, two 300-meter long tankers, one bound for Portugal and the other for somewhere in the US (FPO), hailed us to check we weren’t about to alter course or speed and, that being the case, said they would alter course to take our stern (pass behind us). Although not strictly necessary (our clearance ahead of the first was several miles and the second had an obligation to go behind us anyway) it was very considerate - or perhaps they just fancied a chat.

All is well.