Wednesday, January 17, 2018
A year ago I was in Durban, South Africa, looking for a weather pattern that never appeared. Now I am doing the same thing, though on a lessor scale.
I’d like five days of west and south wind. I actually like six, but five should be enough. It isn’t happening, so as I did last year I am going to depart and adapt to whatever does happen.
Strong north wind is due to be replaced by east wind this weekend. The course for the first fifty miles from Marathon is ENE to NE, following the curve of the Florida Keys, and from there roughly north the rest of the way.
I don’t believe in long range forecasts, but what I see indicates light wind for a few days next week, then stronger wind, perhaps from the undesired north.
GANNET’s interior has three modes: passage, harbor and chaos. Presently she is in harbor mode with a few more stray objects around than usual. On Friday I will move her into passage mode. And on Sunday I will probably leave my side tie here at Marathon Boat Yard and sail out to pick up a mooring near Sombrero Light, where I can remove and stow the Torqeedo more easily than when underway. If it is not too rough I’d like to spend the night there and sail off the mooring when wind comes up Monday morning.
What I do from then on I’ll make up along the way.
I’d like to make the passage non-stop, but it is possible I will pull in somewhere.
That I am going to sail offshore rather than power up the Intracoastal surely goes without saying.
Although this is a less than 600 mile passage and GANNET has made one ten times that long, I do not take it lightly. On coastal passages there are more things to run into and more things to run into you than while crossing oceans.
I really like to go out and across, but I will be a coastal sailor for the foreseeable future. From here to Hilton Head Island, from Hilton Head to the Chesapeake and back if I do that later this year, even all the way from Hilton Head Island to San Diego via Panama is alongside land, not away from it.
Pelagic has become littoral.