Day 5 - Bahamas to Bermuda

Stravaig'n the Blue
Fri 29 Apr 2022 18:50
Position: 31:34.4 N 068:17.4 W (665 NM east of the Broro Neck, Georgia. Nope, hadn’t heard of it either.)
Position timestamp: Friday 29 April 2022  09:00 (UTC-4 / EDT)
Distance travelled in last 24 hours: 142 NM at an average speed of 5.9 knots
Reduction in distance to destination: 135 NM
Remaining distance to destination: 192 NM (straight line)

Yesterday’s frustration with the wind ended at 8pm when there was a short 35 knot squall after which the wind went round to the north and settled in at a brisk 18 - 24 knots for the rest of the night. That allowed us to switch off the engine and make good progress with two reefs in the main and the small staysail partially unfurled.

By daybreak the wind had dropped off a bit and backed to the northwest so we swapped the staysail for the primary headsail and shook one reef out of the mainsail. (We are getting very quick at reefing and shaking them out.) We are now making even better progress in 15 - 22 knots.

If this good progress continues, we will make the southwestern end of Bermuda (Gibbs Hill Light) by mid-afternoon tomorrow. It will then take two hours to get to the southeastern end of the island and a further hour from there to the anchorage in St George’s. 

I’ve been rereading the pilot book on the entrance channel (Town Cut) to St George’s harbour and studying the charts in more detail. Not only is the channel well-buoyed and lit but Bermuda Radio is available to provide additional guidance. In the past, the channel was used by cruise ships, albeit not today’s monsters, so it should present no real problems if we do need to go in after dark. The prospect of a night of uninterrupted sleep at anchor is very appealing.

We are definitely out in the Atlantic. The sea has lost its vivid blues and greens and is now a cold steely blue. Gone are the modest one to two meter swells; out here, peak to trough, they are three to four meters - but the period is around seven seconds so the boat just gets lifted up and over each wave. It is also getting chilly. The sea temperature has dropped from 27C/80F to 22C/72F and the midday air temperature from 30C/86F to 21C/70F. Overnight it is significantly colder and cold weather gear that hasn’t been used since last October’s passage from the Chesapeake to The Bahamas is being rediscovered.

All is well.