Sunday, May 1, 2011

And We're Off!

So long, Nanny Cay, until we meet again in November!
The provisions are prepared and stowed. The tanks are full. The sails are rigged and ready. The crew is on deck and ready to cast off. We are about to move to the START line for the Atlantic Cup Rally to Bermuda. You can follow us at where you click on Boat Positions. 

It hasn't exactly been easy getting ready:
  1. Holiday: Good Friday
  2. Holiday: Easter Sunday
  3. Holiday: Easter Monday
  4. Holiday: Friday the Prince got married!
Holy holiday! You couldn't get anything done around here! And when we did manage to move forward on things, there were multiple bait-and-switch, added tariffs, and anything else where they could screw us! Obviously I have been a little P-O-ed! I will share that in a future post.

Jeff, Dennis & Gary at Captain Mulligan's (nothing to do with golf!)
We have a new crew for the return trip: Gary and Jeff. It will be a new learning experience for us as each brings different skills to the team. Gary is a very experienced sailor and has sailed the Caribbean 1500 and Atlantic Cup multiple times. And the best thing is that he knows how to get in and out of Bermuda. It is a rather challenging entrance. Jeff was a first-timer in the 2010 Caribbean 1500, but he does a lot of ocean racing. Hopefully we will learn more about sail trim from him.

The winds look favorable for the first day: 15-20 knots out of the east - the wonderful Trade Winds. The seas are projected to be 6'-8'. That should move Trillium right along at a comfortable speed on a starboard tack for a day or two. Earlier it looked like we were going to hit the lulls. It was suggested that we may be motoring for the last two days into St. George's Harbour on Bermuda. Now they are suggesting that we will get some gusts into the high 20's and some squalls. So who knows until you get there!
From Bermuda to the Chesapeake Bay: The more
"feathers," the stronger the winds. Red is not good!

There is a storm brewing between Bermuda and the Chesapeake Bay so we will hold in Bermuda until it passes and then make a run for the East Coast. We still have a lot to learn about weather and reading the various reports, gribs and charts, but we are improving with each trip. Experience has been a good - and relatively gentle - teacher. We check the weather on a site called We will check the weather again in Bermuda. In addition, we receive daily email weather reports via our satellite phone each day. And we are in communication with the fleet once a day on the SSB (single side band radio).

See the Gulf Stream snaking around the ocean!
And then there is the Gulf Stream! If you have never looked at how it meanders and twists and turns up the East Coast, check it out online at the weather link above. It looks very gnarly right now so it will be an interesting passage across it later in the trip. You can see from the arrows that it flows in multiple directions and at different speeds in each area. Our challenge will be to figure out the best place to cross so we don't get pushed in the wrong direction. If you are only traveling 6-7 knots and the stream is traveling 2-3 knots against you, it can be a very slow trip in some rough waters. The graphic shows you what it looks like currently. It will change slightly by the time we get there in 8-10 days.

As in the past, we will be out of communication range for several days while at sea. (Some of you have said: you do see land all of the way, don't you? And the answer is: NO. We are several hundred miles from land most of the time!)

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