Off Freeport - sort of

December 28, 2014 08:09 UTC
Atlantic Ocean, approximately 26 NM Southeast of Freeport, Bahamas
(I am finally close enough to Freeport that I can see the light pollution on the horizon)
N 26 14.379 W 078 21.271 Course 315 Speed 2.2 knots

Yes, we really do stay up all night every night with 30 minute cat naps all day and night. Its 3:15 AM EST and I am quite awake. Yes, it is quite boring. One can only read so much and sleep so much. I think one of the big attractions of trawlers (large powerboats with small engines and big fuel tanks. They usually have a top speed of 8 or 9 knots but the amenities’ of a “gin palace”) is the size of their fuel tanks. Since the engine is expected to run 100% of the time underway there is always ample power for computers, DVD players, etc. Lots of other reasons too, they are quite nice. A lot of sailboat cruisers “retire” to a trawler when handling the sails gets to be a bit much.

I have mentioned that I am on a route with a lot of ship traffic but that usually they pass me far enough away (2 NM) that the AIS alarm does not go off. I was cat napping (as was XO) when the alarm went off. Sure enough, another Carnival cruse ship. Once again he was going to miss me by 1 NM. That is more than enough distance but within the alarm zone I had set on my AIS. They really are pretty at night. The power generation needs just for the lights must be significant. I got a kick out of watching the “jumbotron” video display on the Lido deck. Of course it was 2 AM for the guests on board. I wondered who was watching what. It made the entire top deck of the ship look like a discothèque. Maybe it was. The process of watching it go by woke me up completely so I made some coffee and decided to write this entry.

The winds did pick up after sunset (thank you katabolic winds) so instead of drifting I am now drifting smartly. Actually I am underway at about 2 knots. One frustration is watching the “time to turn” display on my chart plotter. I am going so slowly that a change of ½ knot can result in a time to destination difference of several hours. I have about 26 NM to go to the turn that will take me Northwest and into the Gulf Stream. At various times today the time to turn has been 60 hours, 30 hours, and now 16 ½ hours. It can be very depressing when the time goes way up as the boat slows way down.

Still no sign of the 10 to 15 knot winds forecast (for the last two days) by NOAA (the United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.) Usually they are pretty good but they have been quite off the last couple of days. So apparently have most of the other “wind and wave” web sites. Since everyone uses the same six weather models this suggests that the models are off. The best data are live ship observations. Unfortunately you need very expensive electronics that I do not have to get that data in real time. The best I can do is to get it relayed from shore.

On a sailboat you go where the wind lets you go…

Fair winds and following seas J

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