Monday, March 29, 2010

Enroute to The Island Whose Name May Not Be Spoken

March 28, 2010 17.38 utc
Somewhere off the Northeast coast of Cuba

If I have things working this report will get to the blogsite sometime tonight. It is being sent via shortwave radio to my son in law in Toronto who will post it for me on the blog.

The installation of 3 more radials through Meredith has improved the SSB/shortwave radio transmission reliability. As a result we should be able to file position reports via Winlink 2000. Anyone interested can go to the Winlink 2000 website and find Meredith's position on a world map. You need to know that the call sign assigned to me is VA3LJE.

At 0700 this morning local time (1100 UTC) Meredith departed Long Cay, Crooked Island, Bahamas headed for Puerto de Vita, Cuba. Straightline distance is 127 nm but, anticipating a wind shift to the south we are sailing off the rhum line to take advantage of late day winds. Hopefully we will make landfall just after 8 a.m. in Cuba.

Wind is highly variable, shifting through 40 degrees or so off our port quarter and ranging in speed from 8 to 16 knots apparent (14 to 22 true). Sail for the highest wind from the worst angle. This provides a more stable ride at the cost of forward motion. Build for comfort not for speed this suits us just fine..

Waves have become a bit of a pain smashing hard on the beam with 5 to 7 foot arrogance.

Such exhilerating sailing conditions should persist through the night although as we close on Cuba the "land effect" will concentrate the wind and redirect it westward along the coast. This in mind we have planned for a landing somewhat east of our actual destination. That way when we run into Cuba I will have a clue as to which way to turn. (a left turn in this case). Hopefully of course the turn will be completed somewhat prior to the running into Cuba part.

For the past week and a half we have travelled with friends from Bayfield, Tony and Linda, and friends from Kingston, Wade and Diane. Tony and Linda are not joining us for the Cuba leg of this trip, more's the pity. Wade and Diane, sailing a monster 53 foot steel boat are so much faster than our tiny little 38 footer that we never see them on a passage. On a typical day sail we leave an hour earlier and arrive an hour later than Wade and Diane. On an overnighter it is like we are on different oceans.

There are a few reports due covering Georgetown to Long Cay but we have superb weather and have largely spent our time exploring and meeting the locals. More on this later.

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