At noon on 3 June, Leander is at 29 33 N, 79 48 W, motoring at 9 knots on a course of 005 magnetic in no wind. Yesterday, we covered 215 miles, the best 24-hour run in our eight years at sea. And that included a start where we did 4 knots for the first 5 hours against an adverse current off of Grand Bahama. The gulf stream is wicked. We have traveled a total of 332 miles from Nassau, with 3832 to go to Beaufort, NC. We are 881 miles from MA.
We had some wind to sail last night, after the sun went down, and were clipping along at 9.4 knots in 12 knots of wind off the beam. But the winds didn’t last quite as long as was forecast, and the sails came back down just after midnight. The engine repairs — to the alternator and mixing elbow — are holding up just fine. According to the built-in gauge, the engine appeared to be running a bit hot last night, but when we checked with a laser temp gun, it was actually at the right temperature, 180 degrees. It is perhaps the ambient temperature of the water, and the hot humid air, that caused the anomaly. The engine is running so far this morning.
We caught a big fish early this morning, but alas it was a barracuda. Too much of a worry of Ciguatera poisoning, and so we put the big fellow back into the sea.
The stars are magnificent at night. Mars continues to shine brightly just in front of Scorpio, and it helped to pass the time to watch it roll through the sky, setting as the sun rose. The new moon came up just before the sun, shining bright orange in a mostly black sky. That was something to see.
We’re just 50 miles from the coast of FL. We can see the dull haze of lights on the western horizon, and can listen to FM radio stations. Simple things like that can give one chills. Yesterday afternoon, the four of us danced to The Who, blasted at high volume in the main cabin, welcoming ourselves back to U.S. waters.
Reminding ourselves that there is many a slip between cup and lip, we had a close encounter with another sail boat in the dead of night. I was on watch and had seen him on my port bow two hours earlier, and didn’t think much of it, figuring that he was a sailboat traveling the same direction and at a similar, moderately slow speed. But our paths were actually intersecting, which neither that boat nor we seemed to attend to. I had moved the radar zone slightly when I first noticed him. He then proceeded to sail through that gap in the zone to a very close approach at about 3 a.m. Another lesson learned. Perhaps by the time we get back we’ll have learned them all.