After 48 hours, we have sailed 335 nautical miles and reached a major milestone: over halfway to our goal, with only 329 nautical miles to go. We delayed our departure from Monday afternoon until Tuesday at sunrise to allow a large swell caused by a low pressure system to dissipate. We set sail in beautiful sunshine, but as so often happens after a low pressure system goes through, there was little wind.
We motored together with several boats that also chose the same weather window. Our first major navigational challenge was Cape Hatteras, where the temperature difference between the Labrador current and the Gulf Stream can kick up storms. We had no issues. We decided to continue south, to enter the Gulf Stream within hours, rather than heading southwest for a while before turning south to cross the stream. Looking at current maps we thought this would be to our favor. Unfortunately rather than catching favorable current after exiting the Gulf Stream we had adverse current for another 15 hours.
Yesterday, day 2 of the passage, was champagne sailing with winds on the beam. We managed to use our Code 0 sail to give us a strong push, achieving a max speed of 11 knots. But in the evening the winds died, as forecast, so we turned on the engines and motored again. There was a convergence zone of little wind sitting between southwest and easterly winds. While I was on watch between 0300am and 0600am today, we started to exit the no wind zone. We are now sailing under full jib and main sail at about 9 knots. With this transition, it is officially t-shirt and shorts weather!
Overnight the sky was cloudless and after the moon set, the stars were magical. As always I looked for the Big Dipper and North Star and smiled, remembering all of the Virtual Shipmates, family members, and new friends we taught about the constellations during the East Coast Expedition this summer. In case you didn’t get to join us, here is the informational card that we gave out, that can be used to find the North Star. Feel free to download print out – let me know if you find the North Star wherever you live!