Thursday, January 26, 2017

Too Clever by Half

It's 11pm, I'm on the 10-1 watch while Dawn is below, and we're roaring along at 7 kts on a close reach with all three sails flying in 12-15 knots of true wind. However our speed over ground is hovering around 5 and that's the best it's been in hours. I really screwed us by planning this curved route that took us 6-8 miles offshore to stay in good wind at a hot angle. The sailing has indeed been fantastic since we exited Ft. Pierce Inlet at 3:50pm but within a couple hours we hit this really foul 2+ knot current. It's not the Gulf Stream persay - water temp hasn't gone up - but it must be it's kissin' cousin. After a while I changed our route further inshore, but getting there has taken a bit as the winds have remained stubbornly just south of west until about 30 minutes ago, when they finally clocked to 270. We've been sailing with the autopilot in wind angle hold mode so we can stay fast and fairly comfortable on a close reach and get inshore as the veering winds of this cold front allow. We could get in faster by strapping the sails in and beating but that'd be slower & harder on the boat, & is no good for sleeping offwatch. I suspect we'll have to go all the way to the 20 or 30 fathom line to get out of the current (or, perchance, catch one of these fabled Gulf Stream counter-current eddies I keep hearing about). Even at current speed over ground we'd get to the anchorage in Ft. Lauderdale by noon, which would be just fine. 

I napped in the cockpit for over an hour during Dawn's 7-10 watch, and I just checked & she's fast asleep in our aft berth. Piper dozed much of the day but is suddenly active and in a cuddly mood, which is nice on a chilly night watch. It's very nearly a new moon and the stars are gorgeous, though we're within sight of shore lights (and 4G data!). Beautiful night to be sailing in the Atlantic Ocean, foul current or no.


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