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Air Power - Log day 1-3

Here we go, Day 1, of the ARC Caribbean 1500. We tossed our lines off the dock early, as Air Power's slip on the end of the pier, blocked others wanting to get out before us. I thought retirement meant, never getting up before the sleep wore off. So we headed off for the starting line about 10 miles north, near Ft Monroe, Va. We all had our sails up tacking back and forth waiting for the starters gun to go off. Jenn & Chris, who kindly loaned us their car, while we prepped, met us on the water in their motor boat. For Jill and I, this Rally Race (with all it's rules and conditions),is sort of like how we treated running marathon races. We don't care about our finish time, just don't eat all the goodies, before we arrive. (Hopefully, we will arrive in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI) with a little diesel still left in the tanks.)

There wasn't much wind, and what there was, hit us directly on the nose. Once leaving the Chesapeake Bay, it's about 120 nm, southeast to Cape Hatteras. I'm glad I changed the oil in both 45hp Yanmar engines, because they are certainly getting a work out. We tried sailing, and motor sailing, but our speed dropped off enough, to concern us about a quick Gulf Stream crossing.

Day 2. We needed to take advantage of the wind not coming out of the north. That would have made for a very bumpy crossing. 80 miles of crossing is bad enough without any additional handicapping. Sometime in the afternoon, we got a little south of Cape Hatteras, and turned more east. This was the narrowest point for us to cross.

You know you are in the "Stream", when the water temperature increases from 72 to 83.6 degrees. The water turns much bluer, and your depth sounder no longer registers. It got a little steamy in the cockpit with all the humidity, even with all the windows open. But as we say, better to be warm than cold.

By evening, there were plenty of squall lines passing in front of us. Water spouts are fun to look at, unless they are coming at you. We dropped our sails, and used the radar to manuever around the cells that looking like they were really going to dump on us. All in all, we got hit with a few light showers which washed all the salt off the boat. By 4:30 am., we were out on the other side, catching a southward bound counter current. It was probably a 10 to 12 hour crossing, using a combination of sailing, motor sailing, or just plain motoring.

As I write this, we are approximately 180 nm ESE (east south east) from Cape Hatteras. Only 1035 miles to go. Not a lick of wind, 1-2 ft swells with a glass like appearance.

This is all the news from Air Power. --Dave & Jill

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