Last night was the most challenging time of the trip so far. Keeping the boat moving in winds that were very shifty and gusty. Over 10 minutes the wind would go from 8 knots to 25, and then back, and would shift even faster 30 degrees or more. It was slow and difficult sailing.
But today, that is all forgotten. The weather is glorious, sunny, perfect temperature, the boat is working well, and the wind is giving us a chance to scratch a few miles east. It has been hours since we have had to touch a thing on the boat, and she is sailing like on rails. If you have to beat your way to weather in the trade winds, it’s hard to pick a better platform than an Amel Super Maramu. Comfortable, dry and seakindly, she is taking good care of us.
As we near the islands, detailed decisions about course depend a lot on exactly what the weather will do, and as that gets more difficult as we start to narrow down the area we are looking at. The models agree in broad strokes, but the fine local details are quite different. All we can do is play the averages. Make our way as far east as we can, while we can. If it turns out that we need to tack our way upwind for a bit, so be it.
In normal times, we might plan on pulling into Puerto Rico for a fuel top off. We did burn a lot getting through the windless patches at the start of this trip. Now, however, that would be very problematic since it would reset our “quarantine clock” with the Antiguan health authorities, and need an additional COVID test before we could leave port in PR… all in all a huge hassle. Better to struggle with some light and contrary winds if need be.