Time Bandit

It’s back to the Caribbean leaving a chilly USA east coast for the winter months in the sun.

22 July 2024
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21 May 2024 | Island Wanderer from ARC 2011
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Sticker Shock

07 June 2024 | Port Washington
Stuart Letton
Remember Covid? We spent over a year in Malaysia sheltering from the dreaded bug. Twelve or fourteen months of living in a low-cost environment, the kind of place you get a three-course lunch with a drink for four dollars. No exaggeration. Four dollars. All freshly caught and freshly cooked.

From Malaysia, as we headed south and west, the cost of living slowly but inexorably started to rise. South Africa was OK; Recife was fine, especially as Hans and Karina, our Outremer-owning hosts, entertained us most nights.

Come the Caribbean, we were beginning to dig a bit deeper in our wallets, but then, Bermuda. Yikes. Go into the supermarket, fill out our small recyclable "for life" (life of a moth) shopping bag and hand over eighty dollars.

Fortunately, we had four and a half days at sea getting from Bermuda to New York, and we could save up for the deposit on a cheeseburger.

I wasn't keen on the Caribbean - Bermuda - New York route, preferring the route via the Bahamas and lower east coast USA. Getting to Bermuda is easy enough; it's the next leg that gets you as the highs and lows spiral off the US, bringing all kinds of nasty stuff with it. Add in the mayhem of the Gulf Stream and finding a weather window, and it all becomes a bit of a challenge.

We use PredictWind for our passage planning and generally add ten knots to what it optimistically forecasts. However, it either omits, or I can't interpret the fronts that cause considerable amounts of anguish, lost sleep, panicked reefing and lots of "I told we should have reefed."

To back up PredictWind, we subscribe to Chris Parker, the weather guru for this part of the world. Each day we listen in and as a window seems to be opening, call in for a personal diagnosis. Which we then ignore.

"There's a big front coming off South Carolina. If you want to go, head due west, then turn north below the Chesapeake. That way, you'll avoid the worst of the front," said Chris.

This was forty-five degrees off our route, and I had a plan. Two days in, we got "fronted". Force seven to eight for about six hours with driving rain. Three reefs, genoa half-furled, and patio doors firmly closed, we bashed our way through the conflicting currents of the Gulf Stream eddies, promising I'd take Chris's advice next time.

Until the next time.


(If it all works, I've added photos in the Bermuda folder)
Comments
Vessel Name: Time Bandit
Vessel Make/Model: Outremer 51
Hailing Port: Largs, Scotland
Crew: Anne and Stuart Letton
About: ex dinghy and keelboat racers now tooled up with a super sleek cat and still cruising around aimlessly, destination Nirvana...
Extra: Next up....the Caribbean. We've left South Africa in our wake and now off to Namibia, St Helena, Brazil, Suriname and into the Caribbean. Well, that' the vague plan. We'll see what happens.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/timebandit/profile
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Time Bandit's Photos - Main
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Scraping and sanding hull back to gel coat for epoxy and Coppercoat treatments.
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