It is 9pm the evening before disembarking for the Bahamas. I will have two experienced sailors on board for this delivery. In 2 hours, Mike, who was my co-skipper when we won the Ida Lewis, will join me. Tomorrow lunchtime Francis will arrive. Often before setting sail there are lots of people around which can drive me a little crazy. I don’t handle it well and need to make more time for myself while also giving time to the team that supports me. It’s all a balance and I need to get better at it.  

I want time to myself to check, double and triple check. I have lists to do. Some mundane – pay that bill. Others important, check the route, and what’s the latest weather projection? At 3am this morning I woke just as the newest projections were published concerning the track and intensity of a storm that is located offshore. Is the path holding? Will it intensify? I spent a few minutes checking on my phone and things look good. I know I will do the same tonight.

Sail For Epilepsy will depart Hampton, VA, which is near Virginia Beach. The low pressure system, which is the darker purple area, should continue to move in a northeasterly direction. The above image shows wind strength and direction at 4pm on Monday November 8th. Source: Windy.com

A lot of today has been spent getting paperwork ready to enter the Bahamas. I had already got a negative covid test but they need one to be taken today. This affected my planning for the day, but then that’s why one always tries to build in time buffers, so that one can take care of the unexpected.

This afternoon, I met with a local sailor friend, Jack, in the bar aptly named Marker 20, after a channel marker I can see just off the stern of the boat. It was great to catch up and relive a race that we were both in this year and to discuss its trials and tribulations. As much as I enjoyed the drinks together I wanted to get back and get near final preparations running. I like it when no stone is left unturned before you head offshore. To do this one needs time and concentration.

Some challenges of this leg are Cape Hatteras (about 100nm into the journey) and the crossing of the Gulf Stream. The Gulf stream is literally a river of warm water in the ocean that runs at about a speed of 4 knots. It is about 20°F warmer than the water temperature off of Hatteras. The temperature difference can often give rise to storms that head in towards New England and result in the Nor’easters that we love and hate. Also, if the wind is in the opposite direction to the current, large waves build that can be treacherous to navigate. Therefore we will likely skirt down the coast until the wind is favorable for us to cross the stream. Perhaps 24 hours into the voyage.

The Gulf Stream is a strong ocean current that brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean. It extends all the way up the eastern coast of the United States and Canada. Source: NOAA.

This morning I had 27 action items to attend to. It’s now down to 6 and Mike can help me with those in the morning.

I am excited for this sail. It will initially be a challenge with winds in the 20-25 knot range, but over the first 36 hours subsiding to 10-15 knots (if the models are correct). If all goes according to plan, we’ll arrive in the Bahamas on Friday or Saturday. Be sure to follow the boat tracker and on social media for updates!

2 thoughts on “Preparation

  1. Have a safe trip Phil. Fair winds…
    “Pieces of Eight” ( formally “Bad Medicine”)
    USA 23244

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