April 30, 2010.
Okay, the crossing. I don’t like to brag but I’m not above boasting a little….whoever planned this crossing really had his shit together. We set out from Manjack Cay with wind from the northwest. We motorsailed into 15 knots of breeze for 8 hours before a course change gave us a sailing opportunity. By this point we were at Great Sale Cay which is where most boats stop for the night on the way back to the states. The wind was light outta the north so we opted for the “moving anchorage” scenario. We sailed very slowly along on a beam reach all through the night in dead flat seas. We both took turns getting quality sleep and when dawn broke we were 30 miles to the west of where we would have been had we opted to stop.
Once clear of the Barracouta Banks we sailed off to the northwest in search of the Gulf Stream. The wind had veered and was lightly blowing over our right shoulder as we headed north in the stream. We used the genoa only to allow clean air to fill the sail and move us along to the north. Whenever Christy asked me about where we were the answer was always off Florida. It seemed like Florida would never end.
After 200 miles we started to turn to the northeast and the Carolinas. The wind was also clocking so we were able to keep it right over our shoulder with the genoa pulling nicely. We had days of 108, 172, 170 and 180 miles over each 24 hour period.
We saw several large container ships and with the aid of our AIS things went really well. We were traveling alone but did not lack for company. We had a Woodpecker hitchhike a ride for a while at over a hundred miles offshore. Then we ran into a pod of what we think were Pilot Whales. I snapped a bunch of pictures but all I got were photos of dark swirling water where the whales “used’ to be. Oh well, next time. We did manage to take a small Skipjack which is in the Tuna family. Two hours later some of him was in the freezer and the rest was dinner.
About 125 miles out from Beaufort we were becalmed so we started up the engine and motored for 5 hours before finding some wind. We sailed along for another 6 hours before the wind left us altogether, forcing us to motor the last 8 hours of the trip.
We arrived in Whittaker Creek just as the wind veered to the southwest and blew all the water out of the creek. We just made it to Ken & Carol’s dock just in time. Less than an hour later we were dead aground while safely tied to the dock. If we had arrived an hour later we wouldn’t have gotten in here. Not bad timing after a 96 hour 630 mile trip.
The speed of the Gulf Stream allowed us the luxury of ghosting along at close to 5 knots when the winds were very light. When the wind did blow we saw 10 knots several times. It turned out to be a fabulous crossing with light winds and sometimes rolly but fairly flat seas.