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Old 11-10-2008, 16:37   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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Miami Passage - Day 2, October 3

Miami Passage - Day 2, October 3

Hello from the Atlantic Ocean, 37*14'N, 74*42'W.

As we left you, we were beating our way Southwest at the lower
end of Delaware, about 40 miles offshore. Earlier in the day,
we'd rocked and rolled to the extent that we'd put alternate toe
rails in the water, an impressive feat on a Morgan 46, even aided
with the big waves. With all that rocking and rolling, and good
wind and solar power input, I turned on the fuel polisher, even
though I'm relatively certain we more than cleaned out the tank
during our wreck pounding, and the trip to St. Petersburg for
rehab, which had similar rock-and-roll characteristics.

Early evening results are in; the waves are subsiding - only
about -5 to 25 degree rolls, with the predominant attitude well
within the performance zone of 10-15 degrees of heel. The
Sailmail connectivity continues to improve, with yesterday's log
going out at double the already-vastly-improved rate of my test
mails the day before. Yesterday's progress, despite all the
doldrums and time getting out of the harbor, our slowdown in the
afternoon, and meandering, was about 140 miles over ground using
rhumb lines only (further if you looked at our actual, wandering,
track). So, despite a depressing and uncomfortable day, we're on
track for another great passage, this time nearly 1000 miles.

By 9 PM, the winds had dropped to the 10-15 knot range, but were
also beginning to shift south slightly. Thus, we continued to
beat our way southwest in order to be able to shift more
southerly when the wind clocked around. We still rock around
fairly much, but if the wind drops just a little more, we can put
out the genoa again, which will stabilize us more than what we
now have up, and should make for better speed as well.

By 10, the wind indeed did continue to drop and we put up the
genoa. With a typical 10-12 knots, we'd have the main up fully,
but just like the time to reef is when you first think of it, a
reef in the main at night helps guard against unseen (dark, ya
know) gusts or other wind anomalies which might make for wishing
you had the reef in! Those following our SPOT track will see the
slight curve to the south as the wind shifted, preceded by our
slight curve to the west as we pinched after we ran off during
the worst of it yesterday.

Lydia relieved me at 11, and the calmer sea state promised
blissful sleeping - just enough rock and roll to be comfy, not
throw you out of the bunk! Sure enough, I knew nothing until I
smelled the toast she was cooking at 5:30. As I'd wanted to get
up at 6, that worked very well.

As forecast, the wind shifted, actually quite dramatically,
rather than a gradual trend, as those following our SPOT track
will see, forcing us on a slightly SE track. As quickly as it
was daylight, I shook out the reef in the main, and we proceeded
under full canvas, all the sheets on the laundry line, so to
speak. Still, it was light enough that we crept along at under 4
knots. However, now that all was back to normal in the rigging
sense, I hardened up all the sails to drum-tight, and pointed for
all we were worth. With the rigging full and trimmed, our speed
increased to over 6 knots, which also contributed to the apparent
wind, so now we're beating along in nearly 15 knots of wind, and
our direction has improved by about 10 degrees, though we're
still only due south.

All this pinching has resulted in a higher degree of heel, too,
so I've had to raise the nav desk to flat to prevent my keyboard
and mouse from escaping to the sole (floor). Fortunately,
they're pretty hardy, and the several times they've crashed off
the nav desk in the past has resulted in no more excitement than,
once, a battery cover popping off. Anyway, the heel is right at
our performance limit, and we're still efficient - but Lydia may
have to use her feet to keep from sliding down the bed, more on
which, below :{))

By daylight, the sea state had lowered to nearly calm, less than
1' waves in the gentle (albeit contrary to our travel, and,
again, not in the NOAA forecast by nearly 100 degrees), so we put
out our remaining poles to see if we could catch our dinner.
We're close enough in that we might have a little more luck than
the most recent few times we've had the lines out, but we're out
of the prime fishing spot, the Gulf Stream. We still have room
to avoid it, but likely, unless the wind shifts again, we'll have
to tack back in to shore.

The morning weather report started out looking like it would be a
bust, as all of the 6:30, 7 and 8AM broadcasts were nothing but
static. The 8:30 one started out very poorly, as I could just
barely hear, but not make out the transmission. However, by
close to 9, as he worked through other clients, I could make out
that he was about to stand by, so I piped in. Imagine my
pleasure when his reply was loud and clear. The rest of our
conversation was very tolerable when it wasn't clear as a bell.

We'll be facing the southwest winds which *may* clock a bit to
the west for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, they'll also
die even more as they clock around to the north for tomorrow
(Saturday). If we're successful in making Hatteras before Sunday
morning, wind and waves should be very good. However, by Sunday
PM the wind will pick up substantially from the NE, which would
make for very unsettled water, along with short-sail conditions
in the wind. Short sail is OK but 8-10; unsettled seas aren't
much fun, so we'll do everything we can to make it around
Hatteras before then, even if it requires turning on the engine,
which tears up our budget!

If we can manage it without a tack, to avoid the Gulf Stream, we
actually look very good to make it around Hatteras sometime
tomorrow, as, at 10AM as I write, it's 140 miles from here on a
rhumb line. However, if the wind doesn't clock soon, we'll have
to tack to get west, as we'll hit the Gulf Stream about 36N/75W.
That's about 85 miles south of here, and at our current rate of
travel, the wind likely will have clocked, so we may get away
with it.

Tomorrow's forecasted very light winds may have us doing a
spinnaker run down to Hatteras. When the conditions are right,
that's an extremely useful sail, and we like it flying whenever
we can. We'll see. It requires light airs in just the right
direction. Contrasting that was yesterday, which, as I mused on
our travels, was actually more wind and sea state than we faced
in Hanna, except that we'd stripped all the loose stuff from the
deck, lashed our sails, and rode it out below. Recall that Hanna
presented maximum winds of 30 and the highest gust of 34, knots,
with no more than 3-4' seas, for only a couple of hours.
Yesterday, instead, we had sustained winds of 30 with gusts to
35, seas of, at some points, 6-8 feet, and it lasted for about 12

Well, as the day wore on, the wind and waves picked up a bit,
too, still from SW. So, I continued to beat, in 15-20 knot
winds. Unfortunately, that resulted in a heel of about 15-20
degrees, right at our performance limit. At that, we were going
along very well in 5.5-6.6 knots, varying, as I kept it tight to
the wind, between a course of 185 and 210, with very little
slippage as might have otherwise been the case at a greater heel.
The latter (210) would put us at our turning point in Hatteras,
but combined with yesterday's seasickness, and a couple of
drawers falling out for lack of hook-and-eye setup as they used
to have, removed during our refit, but never replaced, caused
Lydia to melt down, and we bore off to reduce the pressure.
Later we reduced sail, rolling up the genoa a bit, causing Flying
Pig to stand up further, but losing the associated speed from
less sail area. Given that our course now was on the order of
155 degrees, it's just as well we didn't go any faster!

By 3PM it was necessary to tack to avoid running afoul of the
Gulf Stream, and we headed back north at about 330 degrees. A
few hours of that would put us back in a position to resume our
rhumb line run to Hatteras. We tacked back, just before dark.
However, that tack, of about 25 miles, reduced our distance made
good by about 15 miles over where we'd have been to have
continued, and cost us about 4 hours. Thus, today was notably
shorter, only about 85 miles (110 if you count the tack...).

So, we leave you, beating SSW in dying winds from SW, soon to be
from the North, about 60 miles ENE from Virginia Beach.

Stay tuned!



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
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