Taking Advantage of a Weather Window
26 April 2011 | Pelican Cay, Eleuthera, Bahamas
I wanted to rent a car so we could see more of Eleuthera. I wanted to see the old town of Governors Harbour, I wanted to see the Glass Window, where there is a break in the island between the banks on the west and the open Atlantic on the east, and I wanted to take the ferry to Harbour Island and Dunmore Town. But the squalls that threatened today didn’t come and instead we have three days of wind from the southeast to the east-southeast. On Friday there’s a day of unsettled weather and the next days are all expected to be northeast to east-northeast winds. We want to go north to the Abacos, so the three days of southeast winds are ideal. After some debate, sightseeing lost and sailing won. I was disappointed, but it gives us a reason to come back here next year.
Today we left Rock Sound and headed up to another anchorage. We chose this anchorage because it gave some protection from the south and it got us far enough north to be able to reach and get through Current Cut tomorrow before the incoming tide gets too strong. There is nothing here but a nearby airport. Not really a tourist opportunity. When we took Fuzzy ashore I insisted we take our shoes. There was a small road on the chart behind the beach and it led out to the main road. Across the main road was another road that led toward the Atlantic and along the Atlantic side was a huge beach labeled “Pink Sand Beach”. The whole walk would have been a bit under a mile one way. It seemed worth trying. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the road. It may have been demolished when they built the airport or we may just have missed it. Usually any road that gets near an anchorage has a path out to the beach at the anchorage, but if this one had a path, we missed it. So I had to be content with a picture of Earendil at anchor as seen from the beach, looking out past a little point. I also took a picture of Pelican Cay for the gallery.
We went 30 miles today, we have to go about 28 miles tomorrow (leaving as early as we can) and then on Thursday we hope to cross to the Abacos, about 60 miles – again, we’ll have to leave as early as we can. I predict we’ll be exhausted by the end of that day.
Most of today’s sail was a broad reach. As long as the wind is far enough off the stern to carry both the main and the jib this boat will fly. We did between 6.5 and 7.5 knots with both sails up. For a while the wind was too far astern and we could only carry the main. We were only doing about 4.5 knots then. We hope the wind is from a favorable direction on Thursday. 60 miles at 6 knots is 10 hours, very doable. 60 miles at 4 knots is 15 hours, and would make us come in to anchor in the dark, not something we will do. We do have a cruising spinnaker, but we don’t yet have a spinnaker pole; we might try to fly it using a block off the back of the boom if we get desperate. Otherwise, if the wind is wrong we’ll have to motor-sail, which is a pain. Even with that chance it still seemed best to go now. The next opportunity may be 7 to 10 days away, and we felt we couldn’t wait that long.