Thursday, September 13, 2012

Waiting for To Go

The delivery was exactly right for our northbound hop
My needs are simple, my wants few. For my offshore run from Sandy Hook to Cape May I want an order of north westerlies, not too strong, not too weak, just right.

Part of that order did arrive several days ago. I could hear the north part moaning in the rigging, way stronger than I had in mind. A complication -- and in cruising there's always something to make life interesting -- was paired hurricanes off the east coast kicking up southeast swells that only surfers could love. The net result was five-foot wind waves running across these swells. With the wind directly behind, Sweet Pea would roll and yaw like a dog enjoying a dead fish.

I also wondered whether Barnegatt Inlet, the half-way point between Sandy Hook and Cape May and my intended overnight anchorage, would be a total dumpster fire? I'm too old to find out. (But not too old a dog to learn that new phrase from Mathias Dubilier's excellent blog le grand voyage.)

Now a weak wind at Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Instead, I huddled behind the breakwater at Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and bounced in the chop. Occasionally a high-pitched shriek was accompanied by a lurch as Sweet Pea tacked abruptly at anchor. That was enough sailing adventure for me.

Now I'm waiting out a week of little wind, punctuated by afternoon southerlies, which would be right on the nose. As the cruisers say, look at the arrow on top of the mast, which always points where you want to go. Yep, I just checked and it's pointing south.

I could do an overnight motor down the coast, starting after the breeze dies down. But, she's a sailboat, yes? Plus, motoring single-handed through fish-trap floats in the dark is for kids in their forties. I used to think nothing of it but now I'm too old for that.

When I was younger I would have ventured out
 instead of sheltering in Pipe Creek, Bahamas.
On our first Bahamas cruise we had cocktails in Chub Cay anchorage with a couple who had cruised those waters for decades. I described our plans to push on to Nassau the next day despite having to beat into 20-knot winds. We were meeting crew and felt we had to honor a schedule. They looked thoughtful and said, "We too old for that. We'll leave it to you youngsters."

We got the snot beat out of us. Anita lay on the saloon floor, saltwater-drenched and retching. All the stuff that had tumbled out of the lockers slid back and forth as Sweet Pea leaped about. At a critical moment a bowl whizzed by and she managed to grab it for her offering, so all was not lost to the bilge. We still refer to that passage as the ooze cruise and translate too old to mean too experienced and youngsters to mean too dumb to know better.

Waiting for the right wind delivery at Cave Cay, Bahamas
So I'm waiting for the next front and its promise of delivering the wind that I ordered. If Amazon can get it to me by next day, why does it take NOAA a week? After all, this isn't the Bahamas.

Finally, groan, were Vladimir and Estragon waiting for a to go delivery, too?

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