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Old 05-06-2010
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Flamingo Cay, Jumentos to Long Island, Exumas 4-20-10

Flamingo Cay, Jumentos to Long Island, Exumas 4-20-10

My apologies for a delayed posting. Things have been pretty busy aboard,
and I'd not had the opportunity to get to this log/trip report until just
now...

We'd left you, bumping on the bottom in the now-north, and increasing, wind,
in the pre-dawn hours. A call to Chris Parker over his morning net
confirmed an expected good day to make our passage to Long Island. Further,
based on our dead reckoning calculations, we'd be in the Comer Channel,
always a bit scary for deep-draft boats, right at high tide.

As the incoming tide would be against us, having something close to slack
water as we made our way through the channel's couple of turns would be
helpful, so we were encouraged. From Flamingo to Long Island was a very full
day's travel, so we needed to get an early start. Fortunately (well,
uncomfortably, but lucky), we were up and at 'em very early this day, so it
worked well for us.

Despite our bumping, with the low tide yet to arrive, we had no difficulty
getting the anchor up and off by 7:30. We'd have love to have gone outside,
returning to the Comer Channel access over the top of Water Cay, but the way
out was entirely too nervous-making. Likely Ricky could have guided us, but
we resigned ourselves to the many course changes needed to make our way
inside. Indeed, likely the sea state would be very much more comfortable
inside, too, so, off we went.

We followed our "bread crumbs" - the track laid down by our chartplotter -
from our way in the prior afternoon, with no difficulty. We gave Ricky on
Miss Tritch II a call to say goodbye, promising to visit in Long Island on
the way back, as he'd still be out for a couple more weeks of fishing before
returning to his home. Our track out of the narrow cut between the rocks
and hard places (rocks on our left, hard pan on our right) wasn't very long,
and we soon headed off to intercept our first rhumb line on the Explorer
charts.

Indeed, by 7:45AM, we were there, and headed 041T. That put the wind at 60*
apparent, a great point of sail for us, so we were making 6.0-6.5 knots in
10-15 knots of apparent wind. Of course, our forward motion contributed to
that apparent wind speed, so true wind was more like 8-12 knots.

By 8AM, the wind backed just a bit, creating closer to a beam reach, but it
was short-lived, because 15 minutes later, it had moved north, putting us at
a 45-55* angle of apparent wind. That made the wind pretty steady at 15
knots, and we were pleased to see our speed over ground increase to 7.3
knots SOG. The seas were, indeed, pretty calm out there, as the westerly
swells had subsided somewhat with the clocking of the wind.

As always in the Jumentos, course changes are fast and furious, so by 8:45
we'd changed to 051*T. As that amounted to a turn downwind, our angle of
attack improved to 60-80* apparent. Apparent wind of 10-12 knots yielded a
SOG of 6.9-7.1 knots in comfortable seas. At this rate, we'd make the Comer
channel very comfortably at the imputed high tide (there are no specific
tide tables for the channel - you have to interpolate from Nurse Channel,
south of us, Nassau, north of us, and Duncantown [Long Island], far to the
east of us).

Sure enough, we quickly arrived at our next waypoint at 9:25, which turned
us 069*T. As we'd gone a little further downwind in that move, we eased the
sails a bit as the wind moved aft. With an apparent wind angle of 90-110*,
and winds of only 8-10 knots, we were still making 6.8-7.0 knots against the
tidal current.

Of course, very quickly another turn came, so at 9:40 we pointed ourselves
so our COG was 039*T, a difference of 30* in our course. However, with the
accompanying lower speed from the wind moving forward, we were now making
"only" 6.0-6.5 knots in 10-14 apparent knots of wind. The apparent wind was
also now well ahead as we pinched into 030-040* off our bow. With the
relatively flat water, it was a comfortable ride, and without having to
fight a pitching moment which would have been present with waves larger than
we had, we were still able to make good progress.

Fortunately for us, the wind backed and filled slightly by 10AM, bringing
the apparent wind aft to a more effective point of sail. With, now, 13-16
knots of apparent wind at an apparent angle of 040-060, a good point of sail
on our boat, we jumped up to 7.2-7.8 knots SOG. While the lines were out, it
would have to be a BIG fish to chase down our lures, so we kept a careful
eye on the lines. No luck, of course, that being our norm :**/)

Of course, in our meandering pathway laid down by Explorer Charts, 10:30
brought another turn, this time to 027*T. However, our course of travel has
been taking us such that we now had a tidal offset which allowed us to
maintain the same apparent wind heading. Instead of sliding off the wind
(the norm is for the wind to slightly push the boat off the direction of
travel, requiring a slight offset on the rudder to correct, making it
slightly more upwind), we were being pushed by the incoming tide, and were
able to actually point away from the wind relative to our travel. However,
that resulted in some slowing down, as we weren't on as efficient a hull
direction as we could have been, but we managed to keep 6.6-7.0 knots SOG in
11-15 knots of apparent wind in a great sailing day.

This course of sail would be a relatively long leg, leading us to the
entrance of Comer Channel, so we didn't have to fiddle with course or sail
changes much. However, as we approached high tide, the current picked up
somewhat, as we were now coming closer to the feed-point of the flow,
complicated by the wind dying to only 7-11 knots of apparent wind and
clocking forward a bit at 11:30 (a whole hour of uninterrupted sailing!).
That resulted in an apparent wind of 020-040* on our nose, and slowed our
progress to only 4.7-5.4 knots as we pinched, hard, with both sails pulled
in very tight.

Hm. Are we going to be stuck out here, after all? On the other hand, once
we turned the corner into Comer Channel (nearly all east from that point),
the angle would improve dramatically. By noon, in the rollicking 6-12" of
ripple/chop, we weren't being impeded by the waves, but the slot in the
main-to-genoa was so skinny, and there was so little wind, that we felt we'd
do better by lessening the air resistance by rolling in the genoa. We were
hard pinched at 020-030* apparent wind, but still making forward progress as
we got closer to high tide (calculated). Our dead reckoning would have us
there such that we'd have high tide entering the channel, leaving plenty of
water under us in the 12-mile traverse of the channel, but we'd not be
fighting the current, so we just kept on keeping on :**))

Sure enough, by 1:20, we were in Comer Channel's west side, and turned for
a course of 096*T. That put the wind in a better position to sail, but it
wasn't very stiff, at only 8-12 knots apparent at a beam -to-close reach of
070* apparent wind. That allowed a more efficient point of sail, so we
rolled out the genoa again. Our speed picked back up, of course, and we
were making 6.6-6.7 knots of progress through our first leg of the channel
in virtually flat seas other than the gentle swells coming through. With
brilliant sun, it was not only a wonderful ride, our solar panels were
steadily topping up our batteries..

It's always exciting to see the bottom rush by, in gin-clear green water,
apparently imminently subject to grounding, but we maintained 1-2' under our
keel at all times. In any event, it's nearly all sand out here, so any
grounding would be a matter of "shopping for water" - correcting the course
into deeper water if we were to touch. And, having come through it recently,
it was a simple matter of comparing our bread crumbs from the trip out (as
seen by the track on the chart plotter) to make sure we stayed in safe
water.

Sure enough, all continued to be well as we made the turn in Comer Channel
leading to the east side, setting our course for 071*T at 2:30PM. By now,
the tide was starting to run the other way, and while that would start to
lower the distance between our keel and the bottom, with only 9-12 knots of
apparent wind at 050-060* apparent, we were now making 6.7-7.0 knots of
forward progress. As we were starting to get into deeper water and subject
to the fetch of the water between Great Exuma (George Town's island) and
Long Island, the waves picked up to an impressive 1-2' - accompanied by
brilliant sun, it continued to be a marvelous day to be out sailing!

By 2:45, ever changing, the wind dropped again, to only 7-10 knots at 060*
apparent wind, but we were still trucking along at 6.5-6.7 knots. Our final
turn, to the Salt Pond/Thompson Bay harbor, was to 089*T, coming upwind by
18 degrees. That actually made little difference, as the wind stayed at in
the 070-080* apparent angle, with 8-10 knots of apparent wind. That kept us
moving nicely, if slightly slower, at 6.2-6.5 knots toward our destination.
Our dead reckoning would have us anchored in broad daylight, always better
:**))

Of course, with the relatively light airs, minor changes make a big
difference. So, at 3:15, when the wind dropped further, to only 3-5 knots
apparent wind, and backed, as well, wind moved slightly aft to produce an
apparent wind of 090*. However, accompanied with the increasing tidal flow,
our speed only dropped to a leisurely 6.0-6.2 knots.

Ever changeable, however, there was a sudden wind shift at 3:30, moving the
wind forward again, to an apparent angle of 030-040* at 8-12 knots; we
charged along at 6.6-6.8 knots on our final leg. We arrived quickly, but
spent a while hunting for WiFi. Our benefactor, as expected, had gone home
for the winter, taking their connectivity with them, so, after wandering in
the wilderness, so to speak, for an hour or so, we anchored at 5:30, back
about where were on our first arrival into Long Island.

By the time we got tidied up from our sail, it was a little after 6.
Forgetting a time when we were ashore (see the end of this paragraph), we
tried to raise Long Island Breeze to come in for dinner. We don't normally
eat out, but we thought it might be a nice splurge after all the time in the
Jumentos, particularly since we'd struck out so badly about fishing. There
was no response to our hail on 16, the hailing channel in that area, and a
phone call got an answering machine. By this time, it was just after 6, and
we remembered that they close the kitchen at 6, learned when we came to
fetch our propane tank after our laundry run on another day. Figuring that
we'd missed out, we settled for one of our typical dinners aboard - but it
wasn't freshly caught fish!

As this has gone on long enough, we'll leave you here, comfortably anchored,
anticipating a good wind for going back up to George Town, where we expect
to be able to reconnect to the internet. Lydia's in withdrawal,
particularly, as there's a lot going on with her kids which has been
unavailable to her, not having her Skype video calls, or our Vonage VoIP
(voice over internet protocol) standard phone lines.

Until next time, Stay Tuned!

L8R

Skip and crew




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