Antigua Will Wait

We arrived last night at St George’s, Bermuda customs dock, cleared-in and secured (more like scored) a cozy spot against an ancient concrete quay. We are lucky to have this spot, literally tied to a cannon, considering the weather (get to that in a minute), as we just squeezed-in between the pilot boat St David and The Black Lion, both much larger. Another reason we have a smaller boat! No boat envy here!

Captain preparing Q flag

We sailed 659 miles leaving Hampton, Virginia, Saturday 02 November at 1600, and arrived Friday 08 November. It was a passage filled with squalls, including dodging lightening and such fun. Fayaway’s auto-pilot Otto quit out of disgust, under heavy following seas while crossing the Gulf Stream early in the trip. We hand-steered for another 36 hours, taking 1-2 hour shifts, until conditions allowed Chris to diagnose a blown fuse (of course buried deep behind and under the helm). We sighed massive relief having thought we’d need to divert to Bermuda to get relief from sleep deprivation. Or so we thought we were all set…

Gulf Stream can be rough in NE wind conditions, shown here as water water temperature map

Traveling along a generally SE path toward our destination, each day we’d read updates from our weather-routing service, dealing with motoring when calm, and of course sailing whenever possible. However, even with current conditions at our location being favorable, by Tuesday we received a report describing deteriorating conditions should we not reach a point 28 deg N and 64 deg W by Saturday morning. By our calculations this goal would be doable but difficult, as we were a bit further behind most vessels in our Salty Dawgs group. We had purposely stalled earlier in the week, based on the weatherman’s advice, allowing us to save fuel and wait for upcoming favorable wind. But even after getting our promised wind, a bout of gale-force overnight squalls on Wednesday left us seriously considering stopping off in Bermuda again.

SaltyDawg rally boats to Antigua. Some diverting East to Bermuda.

Turns out that others were thinking similarly. To make it more fun, we needed to be in before Saturday because another nasty cold front would make our approach difficult. We did make it here eventually with much-appreciation to Bermuda Radio for helping guide us through the reefs after dark.

Fayaway tied to an ancient cannon (repurposed as bollard) in St George, Bermuda.

We sit here now listening to the wind and rain howling outside, looking toward our next weather window for the desired run to Antigua. This window isn’t expected for several days at this point, but we’ll make good use of this time to lick our wounds and possibly install our new wind vane. (www.hydrovane.com)

Also follow us on Instagram #realfayaway, or #svfayaway on Facebook

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