Modern weather forecasting and weather routing information is a real game changer for passage making sailors who take good use of it. In the “good” old days you made your best guess, and jumped out into the ocean and deal with what ever King Neptune threw at you. It is now so different.
Normal prevailing winds along the southeast coast of the US are from the southeast. Pretty much as bad as it gets if you are trying to sail from Charleston to South Florida. We waited, and waited, and watched… looking for an opportunity to “cheat.” When the models converged on a common solution and agreed, we grabbed it, and the result was a fast, fun, and most importantly, safe trip.
The winds were strong for most of the trip, 20 to 35 knots from the north or the northeast. The waves were, are times, large. But everything was coming at us from behind, so the sailing was fast and fun. We were moving through the water at over 10 knots for hours at a time. Our highest speeds, surfing down the big waves, was pushing close to 13 knots–measured both through the water and over ground! OK, it’s only for a minute, but still… bragging rights!
Our carefully planned trip was seriously disrupted and slowed down by the US Navy. We had our course set to keep west of the Gulf Stream. Just at the point where we were as close to the Gulf Stream as we were going to get we were hailed on the radio by “Warship 67” and told to turn east to avoid the live fire gunnery practice. For the next 60 miles we had to fight the north bound Gulf Stream in order to stay clear of the live fire exercises. Staying clear of naval ships firing guns with live ammunition always seems like a good idea! For what it’s worth, “Warship 67” is the USS Cole. Yes, THAT USS Cole. The guided missile destroyer that was seriously damaged in a suicide bomb attack in Yemen in 2000.
From untying our lines in Charleston, to anchor down in Hollywood, Florida was 2 day, 19 hours. Pretty good, especially considering we stopped to fish. Fishing wasn’t greatly successful, landing one amberjack before dark and building winds moved us on.
We are going to be based here in Hollywood for a week or two while we help some new Amel owners get dialed into their boat. If you are in the neighborhood, be sure to say “Hello!”
Our plans then are, hopefully, to run out to the Bahamas.