29 || Its Getting Chilly
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
A cool wind began blowing from the North with increasing regularity; it was time to leave our New England summer home and head south.
Newport had been our (the boat and I) home for over three months. Initially it was a great place to wait until Jacqueline returned from the UK, but with C-19 restrictions remaining, return never became possible. So, I decided to use the time to push on with some of the boat projects. Maybe details later when/if I have finished some!
The goal was to get to Antigua! An island that was welcoming yachts and had direct flights to the UK - somewhere I could fly home from and more importantly Jacqueline could return to.
However it was too early to head to the Caribbean as the tropical storm season was still active. So a partial move South back to The Chesapeake Bay was the plan.
It is 350 miles from Newport to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and another 35 up to Deltaville. The options were six or seven long day sails or a single 48 hour hit. The hit was the obvious choice - I had to sail the boat 1600 miles to Antigua in a few weeks: the hit would be the perfect trial run.
A perfect weather window soon appeared. No wind for a few hours followed by 25 knot broad reach for 12 hours, which would then disappear by midnight and fill in off the land with 12 knots.
It was great to be sailing again. And to be reminded that Fatjax is not a floating caravan. I thought I had done my homework / passage planning - weather looked ok, the route was straightforward and out of the Gulf Stream, but…….
I have never seen so many Trawlers. Large offshore trawlers criss-crossing each other, the ships, and me. All following the fish as if completely blinkered to other vessels. To make matters more interesting, they were stretched along a 250 corridor which just happen to be the one I was sailing down. So no rest for the navigator or the helm or anyone. There was no telling where and when they would turn. One minute all safe - then a minute later 2 or 4 would turn 180 deg onto collision course as if I didn’t exist. And they always had right of way……they were bigger.
So the trial was certainly testing. And to top it off I was sick over a 5 hour period. Think something I ate or could have been nerves, cold (yes it was cold) and lack of sleep. But whatever it was it didn’t help, but did make me feel for Jacqueline and others who suffer occasionally.
But in between the trawlers, the cold, sickness and being a little tired there was all the magic of offshore sailing - some not expected!! (see below)
We came into the Chesapeake Bay at 5 am picking up a 25 knot blast (not forecast) coming down the Chesapeake - we were going up. Finally dropped anchor in a very quiet calm Fishing bay at midday - 52 hours from leaving Newport.
NOTE - There are two blogs missing - 28 & 29 - On Jacqueline's Desk!