Heading South (Finally)
It’s November 14, and 39 degrees at 8 am in the morning in Hampton, VA. The cabin heating is on. I don’t really like to have to run the cabin heating. It’s time to move south to warmer climes. Thankfully, after waiting a few weeks for the Atlantic ocean to cooperate, the time has finally come to blast out of the Chesapeake Bay, round Cape Hatteras, and aim for Brunswick, GA (where it will be 66 degrees today). Just in time to get home for Thanksgiving.
I had started to wonder whether I was going to make it. After the mainsail luff tape tore on the deliver last week from Galesville to Hampton, I worried I would miss my chance. Thanks to very fast work from Dave Flynn and Mike Crump at Quantum Annapolis, the luff tape was replaced 48 hours after I dropped the sail with them. We put it back on the boom yesterday. I just have to hope that there is not an issue on the mainsail track that might cause the luff tape to tear again. I’ll keep a close eye on it.
I’ve been watching today’s weather window for almost a week, and wasn’t sure I would have anyone to come with me on the delivery. So I planned to singlehand around Hatteras today, and put into Beaufort Tuesday evening. I would stay there to let a front pass through and then continue on to Brunswick Wednesday or Thursday. This is what the weather forecast predicts for the Hatteras rounding. Northeast wind against the Gulf Stream is not ideal, but at least it is pretty light:
Now my plan is to go straight for Brunswick. That’s because Jay O’Brien, who has sailed and navigated in most oceans of the world, just volunteered to come with me. That means good company. Also, more sleep and more capacity to handle the cold front that will push through Tuesday evening. It will bring some stronger southwesterlies for a few hours, and some rain and perhaps even lightning. But we will batten down and shorten sail for that transition, and after it passes it will be fast reaching and warming temperatures all the way the Brunswick.
Expected passage time should be about 3.5 days, which would put us in Brunswick around Thursday evening. It will be a great chance to learn a lot more about the sailing qualities of Laughing Gull, and what speeds we can make at a variety of wind angles and wind strengths. Thanks to Jay, I’ll know a lot more about the boat and how to handle things when I finally do go singlehanding. For now, though, I am glad to be doublehanding.
If you want to follow along, I have a tracking page via PredictWind. I’ll update after we arrive somewhere south of where I am now.
Notes Worth Noting:
—The universe delivers an extraordinary moment:
—If you haven’t yet found your way to the Guardians Of The monohull Instagram account, you should.
—I love to hate jetskis.
—The orcas off Portugal are escalating. Another boat sunk. More background here.
—Susie Goodall sets out to circumnavigate. Great feature from The Atavist.
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