17 36.0N, 74 43.3W
It's a bit of roller coaster today as we blast through the Windward Passage into the Caribbean. We are passing Jamaica to our west, and enjoyed beautiful vistas of Haiti through the early morning today. We have a steady easterly to ESE wind at about 10-12 knots. Seas are moderate, but fairly close as there is some element of wind against current. We had some significant (that means 1.5 knots)f current against us overnight, and steererd east through the passage to avoid the strongest parts of the stream. This brought us to within 15 miles of the Haitian coast. We continued to stay east of the rhumb line out of the WW passage into the Jamaica Channel, and the strategy seemed to work as we roughly halved the speed of the adverse current. We now are back to rumb line, more or less.
Last night was filled with lights on the water and AIS targets on our course plotter (radio broadcast of ship posiitons via Automatic Identification System, for all you landlubbers out there). We saw more ships traversing the Windward Passage than we encountered on the entire trip. This stretch of water is busy! Now, 50 miles south of Haiti, traffic is once again getting scarce.
The course back to rumb line allows us to sail a close reach in this buliding breeze, and this is much more comfortable than the nearly close hauled sailing we did in our slide to the east. I also have the engine ticking over to power us through the occasional large swell, but I suspect we will be able to sail with engine off by evening if the wind backs to north of east, as predicted. In any event, the predicted wind over the next 48 hrs. mitigates concerns about fuel supply.
We did about 214 nm yesterday, and continue today to blast along at 10 kn through the water, and 9 kn over ground. If the situation remains stable (which it may or may not), I can anticipate a 2 PM Thursday arrival at our waypoint outside Cartagena, and anchor down, or dockage if possible, around 4 PM!
How likey is that? Well, let me tell you some stories about boats...