Migration Underway

Time 1835 local
Lat: 38º 09.6′ N
Long 76º 16.8′ W
Miles from Annapolis: 49.2
Miles to Port Everglades Inlet: 749.1

We are just passing one of the more interestingly named places in the Chesapeake Bay, “Point No Point”.  We are sailing on a broad reach, at between 5 and 6 knots, not fast for us, but reasonable in the lightish winds.

We got underway this morning with a gentle breeze from the northwest, as forecast.  We sailed almost dead downwind all morning and most of the afternoon with our jib and ballooner sails poled out.  The wind never really blew hard, (4 to 10 knots) but we kept up a boat speed of between 2 and 5 knots.  There was a large flotilla of sailboats headed in the same direction out of Annapolis.  Of the dozen boats, only one other was sailing–everybody else was motoring.

One challenge this afternoon was dealing with the shipping traffic.  Our AIS reported a 770 foot cargo ship coming up behind us, but for some reason no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t pick him out.  There was a little haze and mirage effect, but still… this is a BIG boat!  After searching for a while, and moving further away from the main channel just to be sure, I finally convince myself that there is no such ship.  Rather, one of the sailboats is broadcasting completely incorrect information on his AIS.  Everything is wrong, the boat size, the name, the destination, type of boat, status, everything!  When he finally motors up alongside and I can read his actual name (“Cygnus”) I hail him on the radio and ask him is he is aware of the issue.  “Yeah…  I can’t figure out how to program the thing.  But it’s OK my position is right.”  Sigh.  I am hoping he sails down the bay close to the navy base where I am guessing one of the patrol boats will explain the problem to him in ways I can not.

As the sun sets, our weather is looking good, and the boat is doing well.  The routing program is predicting a 5 to 6 day trip.  As we come around Cape Hatteras, we’ll have our first big routing decision to make:  Do we follow the coast south, staying west of the Gulf Stream?  Or head east and then go south outside the main current flow?  Right now the weather models are split about which will be more efficient.  Hopefully they will give us more consistent guidance as we get closer.



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