Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Northward Bound

At Sea, N 24 49 16 W 080 30 41

Well we hauled up the dinghy to leave this morning and cleaned the barnacles from the dingny hull. By 0845 we were ready to leave. As I said before, it is with mixed feelings that we leave Boot Key Harbor.

When I woke this morning the wind was dead calm, but as soon as we started moving, the wind blew. That's a good omen I hope.

We sailed on port tack out to Sombrero Light. That was out of our way but necessary to clear the land and to avoid tacking directly up wind. Out near the light we came about to starboard tack, and our new track was almost right on my planned course.

At first things started slowly. 2.5 knots, 3.5, 3.8 knots. We were headed out to cross over the reef and I had to avoid a few shallow spots. I managed to get Tarwathie up to 4.2 knots.

As soon as we crossed the reef I was able to fall away a little bit from close hauled. As I fell off, the wind was freshening a bit. Soon we were doing 5.5 knots, then 6.2, 6.8 and by mid afternoon 7.2 knots. We are about 30 miles off shore, on the inner edge of the Gulf Stream, picking up a little boost from the current, but not the full amount. By midnight, we should be well inside the Gulf Stream where I hope to get more than tow knots boost from the current.

It has been beautiful out here. First with the shallow green water. Then as we crossed the reef and we could clearly see the bottom 20 feet down (in the BVIs we could see the bottom 100 feet below). Past the reef the water quickly turned blue and now the depth is more than 450 feet.

The winds are slacking now, and we may be nearly becalmed tonight, despite the forecast for 10-15 knots of wind. That's OK, it is very pleasant hanging around out here.

I suspect that we'll bypass Miami and head for Fort Pierce before turning in.

We invited our friend Pete Vonie to sail with us to North Carolina. The next time we come within phone range we should get his answer. I hope it's yes. We can have a great time on a passage like that.

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