Southwest was clearly the one he was going for, based on the satellite tracking of the ship's position. I do believe that would be to get the wind behind him on that trip.
Agreed. SW. Trying to make sense of this course in the context of the weather forecasts available (once they were already committed and out at sea), the first time that the Advisories made any mention that the track for the storm might eventually turn west of north was in the "48 hr Outlook" section of the 5pm advisory on Sat. 27th. at which time the actual movement of the storm was still NE:
500 PM EDT SAT OCT 27 2012
SUMMARY OF 500 PM EDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 335 MI...540 KM ESE OF CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 345 MI...555 KM S OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NE OR 35 DEGREES AT 13 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...961 MB...28.38 INCHES...
SANDY IS MOVING
TOWARD THE NORTHEAST
NEAR 13 MPH...20 KM/H...AND THIS GENERAL MOTION
IS FORECAST TO CONTINUE THROUGH SUNDAY. A TURN TOWARD THE NORTH
FORECAST SUNDAY NIGHT...FOLLOWED BY A TURN TOWARD THE NORTH-
ON MONDAY. ON THE FORECAST TRACK THE CENTER OF SANDY
WILL MOVE PARALLEL TO THE SOUTHEAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES
THROUGH THE WEEKEND...AND APPROACH THE COAST OF THE MID-ATLANTIC
STATES LATE MONDAY.
If the Bounty's forecasts while offshore were limited to these text advisories, that would be the first time they would have had a definitive prediction that the storm would track anywhere other than NE and later N. By then the decision to head SW to try to dodge AHEAD of the storm and make the SW quadrant had already been made, and they were committed to that course of action.
The first Advisory to mention that the actual movement of the storm had changed from NE to North was released at 02:00am on Monday 29th, by which time the storm had already wreaked its havoc on the vessel, and spat it out in its south western quadrant.