Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Traditional Dilemma

Vero Beach
27 39.650 N 080 22.279 W
 
We might be ready to depart on Tuesday. However, the next weather window to go outside won't come until Friday at best, and even that is iffy. Should we sit and wait for a window? Should we move on up the ICW looking for a window day by day?
 
We have agonized about exactly that dilemma many times in the past. We've made the former choice and regretted it. We've made the latter choice and regretted it. There is no right/wrong answer.
 
One major factor, from here north to Cape Canaveral we can go outside and jump into The Gulf Stream. If we did that, and if we had favorable winds, we could be in Beautort, NC in three days.
 
If we go up the ICW north of Cape Canaveral, the coast goes NW while the Gulf Steam doesn't. Going outside at Fernandina, the Gulf Stream is more than 100 miles east. It means that using the Gulf Stream's boost is impractical. With favorable winds, we could sail from Fernandina to Beaufort in 3 days, the same number of days as if we had just sat and waited here! So what't the point, why justify the expense of motoring up the ICW for three days?
 
On the other hand, we can sit here and come Friday we find that the window dissapeared. Wait another week, and that window disappers too. All the time, we are feeling more and more antsy. There is no upper limit on how long the wait might be. Hard core cruisers who almost never use their engines, need flexibility of departure/arrival dates of +/- two months!
 
But what I said is not totally true. I recall one skipper of a W42 (sorry, I forgot his name). He was not afraid of being stuck at sea with too little wind, nor afraid of being stuck out there in a storm. Not even north winds opposing the Gulf Stream currents would discourage him. He would go out at Fort Pierce and head for NC, not caring if it will take 3 or 30 days to get there. Hats off to him, but it's not for us.
 
Commercial delivery skippers are also different. They tend to depart on the first possible day, and hardly look at the weather forecast. But deliveries tend to have ample crew on board, and none of the crew are their family, and the vessels they risk loosing are not their homes.
 
So, which choice will we make this time? Stand by.

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