Day 202, Year 6 Passage to the Carolinas, Day 8-Game of Chance
Date: Saturday, May 14, 2011
Weather: Mostly Cloudy/Some Sunshine, 77 degrees F; Winds SW 10-20
Latitude: 29 27.709 N
Longitude: 076 05.901 W
Miles Traveled: 917
Miles to Go: 296
Location: Passage from Puerto Rico to Mainland USA

A passage is a bit like a game of chance. The decisions you make all affect the outcome. Since Day 2 we have been making the decision to motor when the speed got below 4 knots in order to have any chance of reaching Little River in time for Mark’s appointment with the urologist. Now we are in the home stretch and decisions have to be made to help determine our time of arrival. We don’t want to arrive in the middle of the night, so we either have to average 6 knots from here on out to arrive on Monday evening or go slower and arrive on Tuesday. Now enter factors not in our control. The wind is now coming from the southwest and is no longer on our nose. But the swell is coming from the northwest causing a bit of a bounce which slows us down. Earlier in the afternoon, just when we decided to turn off the engine and go slower to arrive on Tuesday, the winds increased to 20 knots. So now we are going over 6 knots most of the time-but not always-and we have decided to sail as long as we can and take our chances on arrival time. If the 20 knot winds should continue we could arrive at the very end of the day on Monday. Then there is the Gulf Stream. We have to cross it at some point and it will probably boost us northward even faster. That means we could get in even earlier. But the winds could decrease and change the whole plan. If we look like we are not going to make it in on Monday evening, we’ll have to slow ourselves down and hang out until Tuesday morning, but slowing down in the Gulf Stream might not be possible. So the game of chance continues. It certainly keeps Mark busy making decisions and then throwing that decision to the wind and trying another tack.

We heard from our good sailing friends, Zbyszek and Tina of Shirena. Zbyszek is our friend from Australia who had a heart attack while in the Suez. He and Tina are back aboard Shirena in Israel, but they are having a bit of a frustrating time. They had left Shirena in Ashkelon while Zbyszek was recuperating in Australia. They returned to Israel recently, did some touring in Israel, Jerusalem, and Jordon which was all fascinating. A couple of days ago they were ready to go and made reservations in a marina in Tel Aviv. They were going there to check out of the country and move on to Cypress. But when they got within radio range and called the marina, they had no reservation and no room in the inn! The marina finally found a place for them, but then they found out that they could not check out of the country there even though the cruising guide said differently. The next day they had to move on to another town north of Tel Aviv. They are frustrated and having trouble with their steering and starting to question their return to sailing. We hope they get everything set straight soon and can enjoy a wonderful sail to Cypress. So hang in there, Shirena.