December 11, 2009.
True to their word, diesel fuel did arrive later that afternoon. So the next morning after a bit of swimming I headed over and jugged 15 gallons of fuel to top off our tanks.
The wind has been predominately from the south for the last 10 days or so. The exception was the day we bopped down to Governors Harbor from Royal Island. On Friday the forecast is supposed to be again for another day of easterlies so we’re going to take advantage and head south.
We’re only 20 miles from Rock Sound but if we use the day of easterlies to get there its pretty much a wasted day. I decided that we would sail the entire way to Black Point in the Exumas, a distance of about 70 miles.
The catch is that the wind is supposed to be from the east at only 4 to 6 knots and building to 10 to 12 in the late afternoon. So we can’t make the trip in daylight hours but we cannot risk arriving at the Dotham Cut after dark. So we’re gonna have to be leaving early, real early.
So we raised the mainsail and hauled anchor at 0200 and quietly slipped out of the anchorage. As soon as we were clear of the breakwater the genoa was unrolled and the engine was off. Even though the wind was light and we were only making about 2 ½ knots we couldn’t take the chance of running the engine. This area of the Banks of Eleuthera is strewn with lobster pot floats. Wrap one of those around your prop shaft and it can ruin your day.
Christy went back to bed and I set my old friend the egg timer incase I should fall asleep. The wind did slowly build and by dawn we were making 5 knots SOG. The Boat Pole of Speed™ did add over half a knot to our speed during the early morning’s light air.
Once we reached Powell Point and left the banks for deeper water I encountered a bit of a problem. The wind was south of east and we weren’t able to run our required course of 180 degrees. The best we could steer was 192 and with a leg of over 40 miles we would end up miles west of the Dotham Cut waypoint. Crap. Since we were pinching so close to the wind our speed was also down into the 4 ½ knot range which would get us there after dark. Crap. We could adjust course for the Pipe Creek Cut that we’ve used before but we would have to negotiate the shallow water and find a place to drop the hook with the setting sun right in our face.
Our best option was to turn 30 degrees to starboard and run to the cut at Warderick Wells. Once we turned our speed was back up over 6 knots and after 4 hours we started the engine to ensure we had no problems in the cut. We arrived on an incoming tide so we shot through the cut at close to 9 knots. Once on the banks we again turned south and decided to stop at Big Majors Spot for the night.
The last time we were here there were 60 boats here hiding from an expected blow. This night was very pleasant and there were only 3 other boats in sight.