Saturday, April 09, 2011

Cruiser's Dilemma

Vero Beach
27 39.80 N 080 22.39 W

Last night we had a special treat.   Dear friends Don and Margaret were passing through Vero.  We haven't seen them since last year.   We know Don and Margaret from Maine.   We first met Don sailing his Westsail 32 near his home in Bayside Maine.   This year, they decided that a trawler fit their needs better than a Westsail, so they traded for a Monk 36 trawler.  They just took possession of the trawler a few days ago. It's a great boat, although it feels so un-Westsail like.

Today, Don and Margaret are on their way, and we are looking at moving north.   Once again the cruiser's dilemma gets to us.   Look at this picture of the Gulf Stream.  Note that Vero and Fort Pierce area near the bottom edge of this picture.

The point is that we can leave from here, and follow the Gulf Stream almost all the way to North Carolina.   However, the weather forecast doesn't call for a good sailing window until at least 7 days from now.   Should we wait the seven days?  Will that window hold or will it evaporate?   We could sit here for weeks waiting for the right time.  

On the other hand, we can move north on the ICW or with shorter offshore passages.  If we go to Cumberland Island, Georgia, we can have some fun.   However if we do that,  we have moved so far west that getting back into the Gulf Stream would not work.  We could motor on the ICW for 7 days and make it up to South Carolina.   Here's the ugly part, if we did that, it might take as long to sail from South Carolina to North Carolina as it would take to sail to North Carolina from here.   Sure sounds like a big waste of fuel.

That's our dilemma, stay here longer or start moving.   Depending on how the weather turns out, both might be bad choices.  I should point out that it is only a dilemma if one cares about the calendar date. We want to be in NC by May 1.  However, if we didn't care about the date, the solution is obviously to sit here until the ideal weather window comes in the next 1 or 2 or 3 months.  Now perhaps you begin to see why cruisers hate dates and schedules so much -- they interfere with the natural order of things.

I think our decision is made.  We'll leave Vero Sunday, go back to Fort Pierce and out to sea.  Then we'll head either toward Port Canaveral or Cumberland Island, depending on weather.

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