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Old 26-11-2008, 06:31   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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Miami Passage - Day 9, November 18

Miami Passage - Day 9, November 18

Hello from the Atlantic Ocean, 26*53.42'N, 79*55.49'W

When we left you we were in the doldrums, poking along at under 3 knots.
After I went to bed, however, the wind picked up as forecast, and,
fortunately for us, the direction stayed between a beam and broad reach,
steadily building both in wind speed and our speed. The waves had died
down along with the wind, earlier, which made for a very smooth ride,
once the wind filled in enough to keep pressure on the sails.

Our poled out genny was not as efficient as it might be for the point of
sail, but it kept it from flopping, and by the time I got up at 3 AM, we
were making a consistent 5-6 knots in apparent winds of 9-17 knots.
After Lydia went to bed, I got to looking at our route, and while she'd
had us pointed at Vero Beach, that would require us to go back out in
order to miss the shore as we got further south, so I modified the route
to aim at Lake Worth.

Our prior waypoint there would have us very close to shore for a long
time, so I moved it out a bit, which had us altering the course by about
7 degrees off the wind. Because of our poled our genoa, that would be a
more efficient course, but would induce more rolling due to less pressure
on the sail. Sure enough, our speed increased by a knot, flirting with 8
and rarely under 7 knots.

NOAA's mechanical weather people are calling for increased winds today,
building to 20-25 by late in the day, so we'll keep a sharp eye on the
conditions as to whether we want to take the pole in. However, at 6AM,
we're very comfortable in apparent winds that reach the mid 20s
frequently, and rarely drop under 12. While we're rolling, the pole
keeps the genoa from collapsing, so for now, it's a very good ride with
our heel rarely exceeding 10* - but the fact that we're occasionally
getting apparent wind over 25, with our forward movement, means that
we're really seeing winds more like 30 true. We'll watch it closely.

Our traveling companions, who chose an inland route, and then had to beat
their way out to miss both Cape Canaveral and Lake Worth, chatted up a
Coast Guard cutter early today, and they verified that there were
consistent winds over 25, and gusts over 30, in the area where we were.
As we were quite comfortable with that, we believe that should the wind
build later in the day, we'll be fine with it. It's another clear night,
and brilliant moon, which has made for a slight disappointment. Now is
the period of the Leonid meteor shower, but the light pollution from the
moon makes it impossible to see any of them. Ah, well...

NOAA's mechanical man has also told us that the west wall of the Gulf
Stream is further out than we'd expected, so we're able to stay a bit
more offshore, giving us more maneuvering room. If the wind does go
directly astern, we'll want to be jibing a bit for more comfort, so more
room is always good :{))

Our first (slightly extended) day was 121 miles despite our doldrums.
Today we'll do much better, I expect. We'll see at the end of the day
:{)) By dawn, the forecast 5-7' seas had arrived, and as a result we're
not only rolling but wallowing. Not so good for sleeping, and Lydia's
complaining :{/) If the wind goes any further north, I'll flop the main
over, and go wing and wing with a prevented main, but for now we're
charging right along and it's tolerable, if rolly.

At 9, we were joined by about 20 porpoises, who had a great time showing
off in the waves. They stayed with us for nearly a half hour, and by
that time the wind had clocked around enough that I could go
wing-and-wing. Unfortunately, in the process of that, before I could get
the boom far enough forward, with my intermediate preventer attached, it
jibed. A new stanchion base is in our future, as it pulled the tube
loose on the outboard side. That particular base had one of the bails
already broken on it, so it's not such a big deal, but a nuisance in any
case. Removal and rebedding will just be another of those 1-2-3's we do
each day on the boat, and in the yacht club basin, it will be easy.

Once we winged over, our speed picked up, and we're rarely below 7.5, but
flirt with 9 knots from time to time. Given my earlier observations of
the wind, it's likely we'll be able to continue like this through the
day, and perhaps even after we turn the corner at Lake Worth. Unless the
wind actually builds notably, we're very comfortable at this point of
sail, as our added speed, dead downwind, reduces the apparent wind.
Since I put the main over, I've not seen more than 15 knots. However,
the seas are impressive, and we're almost at the same speed as they are,
so, while we aren't rolling as much, we wallow a great deal, and
occasionally surf down the face of one. Whee!

Well, the worm turns... Our windspeed and direction indicator has been a
bit flaky, showing speeds which were clearly not what we were
experiencing, and the aft wind seemed to stop at about 140* rather than
carrying through as we moved the wind behind us, and actually crossed
over our stern. Just before dinner, the speed portion quit indicating

At about the same time, our depth indicator likewise read depths which
were not appropriate to our location. We're nowhere near the Bermuda
Triangle, so something else must be at work. Ah, well, we were running
out of things to do, anyway :{)) Just another instance of why I'm glad
we did the exhaustive sea trials up and down the East coast (this trip
constitutes the continuation) when we're near chandleries and repairs
which won't involve international air freight. One of my internet
buddies who has spent most of the last few years cruising in the Western
Caribbean relates how he winds up paying multiples of the cost of parts
in tariffs and freight...

Meanwhile, we've turned the corner on Lake Worth (well, we turned the
corner before we got there, but our line allowed it as I'd been moving
gradually offshore in anticipation of the turn) for Miami. NOAA is
forecasting some even lumpier conditions as well as building winds for
tonight, but they'll either be behind us or a broad reach, so we flopped
the main over as we turned. That will allow a broad reach or a close
run, on a course of 192*. With the genoa still poled out, even though
we're rolling greatly, it doesn't collapse and (before the forecasted
increase in winds) making in the mid-6 knots range for speed.

We're hopeful of reaching Miami inlet's channel a little after dawn. If
our experience of last year holds, being the middle of the week, there
will be no or only one cruise ship in the Port of Miami, which will allow
us to go up Government Cut, an easier path to our anchorage. (Homeland
Security chases off any boats coming up the channel if there are two or
more cruise ships in port. Just why it should be that two or more isn't
OK, but one is, is beyond me...) If the forecast is accurate, we'll also
be able to sail it comfortably (can't do much tacking or jibing in the
cut!) on a beam or close reach.

Today's speed allowed us to make exactly 150 miles in 24 hours. It was a
great run. We have just under 70 miles to go to the Miami inlet channel,
and about another hour or so to get to our anchorage, assuming we can go
up Government Cut. With any luck, we'll be there in time for lunch, and
an elapsed time of under 3 days.

Stay tuned!



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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