March 16, 2012.
Unfortunately, it's that time of year when we once again have to turn the pointy end north and head back to the states. Our chosen route for the return trip is scheduled to start off with a 122 mile overnighter to the middle Exumas. We pulled the hook around noon and sailed out of the anchorage.
The first 8 miles or so had us on starboard tack trying to hold a course of 0°. We were close hauled at about 352° so we were really cutting it close. At Buena Vista Cay we would be turning onto a course of 341° so things would get better, but not much. We'd be holding this course of 341° for 92 miles through some “new to us” territory. Our friend Klaus has used this uncharted route for several years with success. He gave me the numbers and when I put them into the chartplotter I found that this new rhumbline would take us directly through an area that is thick with reefs. So holding a precision course was pretty much imperative and tacking up the rhumbline wasn't really an option.
I was worried about committing to 341° with the wind so close the bow. The wind veers a bit and we're screwed. So of course the wind did veer but at least it did it a mile before we turned. I found that the best course we could maintain was 335°. Crap.
We were going to have to stop and tuck in for the night. On the bright side, we found Puddle Jumper, Fine Lion and Sam the Skull all in the anchorage at Buena Vista. Even better was the fact that they had scheduled a happy hour on Sam the Skull and we were just in time.
We gave heading north the old college try but the wind gods decided differently. So we basically sailed 15 miles just to go drinkin'. It was almost like being back on Barnegat Bay. We'll try again tomorrow and if that doesn't work we might be here until Wednesday or so. We'll just have to wait and see.