Sunday, September 17, 2006

Slow Going

At Sea, N 40 34.50 W 72 30.20

Five days ago, when we were planning this trip, the forecast called for 16 foot seas and winds 20-25 knots with gusts to 30. It hasn't been like that. Six times in the past day the winds died to zero and boat speed through the water dropped to zero also. We verified that by watching jellyfish in the water beside us. They would sit at the same place minute after minute. Libby is a real trooper though and when she has the helm she valiantly moves it back and forth and tries to adjust the sails to make us go. I have a hard time convincing her that if the boat speed is zero it doesn't matter where the tiller is.

Our progress for the first 24 hours was only 65 miles out of 220 for the voyage. Now, 30 hours in our total progress is only 83 miles. For much of the time we've been making 3 knots in 6 knots of wind or 4 knots in 9 knots of wind -- very good performance for a heavy boat but nevertheless not very exciting.

On the positive side, it is sunny and warm and the seas are flat so the boat isn't rolling around. In fact it has been downright pleasant. We staged a four player scrabble game in the cockpit this afternoon and it was great fun. We never did anything like that before while at sea. As a matter of fact, having three watches completely changed the dynamics of fatigue while sailing as hoped. That's great and I hope that we can entice more friends to sail with us on other offshore passages. I expect to sail offshore passages from Cape Fear, NC to Jacksonville FL in November and from Fort Pierce FL to Marathon in the FL Keys in December. Hint hint.

Most of the other boats we see out here are recreational sport fishermen. It must cost hundreds of dollars in fuel cost alone to roar out here 30-40 miles offshore in the morning and to return in the evening. Of course they seem never to navigate those passages at anything less than full throttle.

Carmello and Trinity (Diane) have been wonderful sailing companions. We're very glad they came. I just hope that before we get to Cape May that we get some brisk winds so that they can see what Tarwathie really can do.

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