We’ve officially passed latitude 38 and our bodies, now accustomed to the tropics, are cold! We’ve had to drag out the fleece coats from the bilge for night watches. The departure from the Gulf Stream was pretty dramatic with not only a loss of current, but a decrease in water temperature from 83 degrees to 73 degrees overnight! Brrr!
It took us almost a week to get from Miami to NYC. I mistakenly thought the gulf stream, with its 2-5 knot current, with us for the first half of the trip would be more consistent. We did have a very fast first day, but what I neglected to consider was how difficult it could be to stay in the gulf stream as it spreads out further north. Where were the signs to point us in the right direction? The margin for error was quite small and a mere handful of miles from the axis was a dramatic loss of current strength. We had downloaded an approximate map of the current when we left, but it was not always exact and we moved in and out of the strongest part of the current throughout the first 600 miles. At our top speeds we were getting 4 knots of assistance, but there were times that we were down to .5 knots. Between the inconsistencies in the current (or at least our ability to find the middle) and the light winds it was a pretty slow passage. The good news is we did sail most of it, we had very pleasant conditions with the exception of one cold night with a side of sheet lightening and monstrous thunder claps. The one casualty we had a was a whisker pole that bent in half when we didn’t get the jib furled fast enough when a squall caught us unprepared (again the sheet lightening night). All in all, it was a good passage and we feel a little more prepared for an Atlantic crossing which will be twice the length. Not so bad!
We welcomed the return of marine mammals, which have been sadly absent since we entered the Atlantic. We had hundreds of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins accompany us on the trip north; playing in our bow wake, giving us aerial shows and and being a great distraction from a long day at sea. We also caught a Mako shark, which looks just like a miniature Great White when it is being hauled aboard. Nobody wanted to try to take the hook out, but fortunately, for all party’s involved, it spit the hook and managed to make its way over the deck on its own. Mako is quite tasty and I know it’s a staple fish and chips on NZ’s South Island, but we have a treaty with the sharks we like to abide by. We won’t eat them if they agree not to eat us!
We literally just arrived into NYC and in a few minutes we plan to crawl into our warm cozy bunks and get a full night of sleep and rest up for a full couple of busy days in the city.