Saturday, 7 May 2016

WHETHER THE WEATHER WILL AFFECT THE WETHERS.?? SLOW BOAT TO BERMUDA. 7th May 2016

Boring or frenetic!
For the uninitiated, wethers are castrated male sheep. What's that got to do with sailing?? Nothing in a word. But wait.. Yes weather... Derivations of same. I was just ruminating on the possibilities, in a long drawn out moment of boredom, when it occurred to me that in Australia there is a sheep weather alert current. Current? Another relevant word we could play with but .... So you can tell it's boring from the rambling.

It's been one of our slowest passages on record. We did leave Marsh Harbor, in the northern Bahamas, in a bit of a hurry because a good window opened up. Unfortunately we didn't properly take into account the effect of the very prolific vegetable garden growing on our hull; the consequences of which we are reaping now. A mere 163 nm in 34 hrs! We should have produce to sell in Bermuda at this speed.

Sails have been up and down like Noddy's jocks. 2kn to 30+, arriving fortunately in daylight, so pre warned, we had double reefed the main and with only the staysail up, we accomplished a jibe with little fuss as wind suddenly shifted 90 degrees from 10 kn to 30kn. In the dark the next squall was not anticipated but fortunately not as strong, and abeam, so we didn't have to jibe. The radar showed it to still be 10nm off when we suddenly went from 10 kn to 22 kn.

Most of the trip so far has however been too light for Taipan. Market garden not withstanding.
"Hunda", a British boat, and "Safari Njema" a Swiss boat, are also on passage to Bermuda and are somewhere within 20 nm of us. We had radio contact this morning and have organised to communicate each morning on the SSB.

Each morning and evening we speak to Chris Parker at Marine Weather Center on SSB. He gives us a pretty accurate 12 hour forecast so we have some forewarning of approaching weather conditions, enabling us to make better course decisions. Being a sailor himself, Chris understands well the idiosyncrasies of sailboats and is also familiar with most sailing destinations on the US East Coast and Caribbean. He personally knows their orientation, accessibility and potential weather related problems. He has access to far more information than us and can therefor offer appropriate advice on routing to facilitate optimum speed, comfort and safety on passage.

We have 590 nm to go to Saint George's Town Bermuda.