Tropical Transition

Time 1842 local
Lat N 28° 43.3′
Lon W 71° 18.6′
Nautical miles from Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke, BVI: 714
Nautical miles to Sandy Hook, NJ: 717

Today, at almost exactly our halfway point on this passage, we transitioned completely from the Northeast Tradewinds of the tropics to the Southwest winds that prevail along the southeast coast of the US. We made that transition with a day of slow but steady sailing. Lots of sail changes, and sail trim to accommodate the changing winds.

From here on weather becomes more variable. We are entering that part of the world, where I am sure most of you live, where weather changes all the time as a result of the constant give and take of air masses between the Arctic and the Tropics. Right now as I look ahead of us there is a solid wall of dark clouds which promises steady rain overnight. No major storm, according to the weather models, just a rainy warm front.

As we were leaving the marina in the Virgin Islands, a Swan 48 in the slip next to us was getting ready for their own jump to the northeast USA. They were making a stop in Bermuda, which is pretty much on the straightest course to New York or points north. As part of their preparations they were loading on many jugs of extra fuel because the weather service they subscribe to warned them about the light winds along their chosen route. With a little understanding of what the weather patterns are we have managed basically the same route and–so far–have burned exactly zero gallons of diesel.

Our weather strategy from here is to sail more or less straight toward Cape Hatteras until we pick up the Gulf Stream, and then use that river in the ocean to gain an extra 3 or 4 knots of speed going north.

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