Wednesday, June 09, 2010

June 9, 2010 - Change of Plans

I live for this color - this iridescent cobalt blue only found offshore in the tropics

This is kind of embarrassing, but I have to retract something I wrote in my last blog post. Remember that whole "we can motor most of the way to Bermuda" line? Well, actually, that's not quite true.

During the past three and half years of sailing around the world and doing a fair bit of motoring (see, e.g., Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand) we never really figured out how far we could motor on our tanks. Mata'irea has some pretty big fuel tanks (620L). And at any time we carry between 40L to 100L more in jerry cans. So we have made conservative guesses, such as assuming that we could motor 1 mile per liter of fuel, and that's worked for us thus far.

But with so little wind in the forecast for this passage we've been keeping careful track of our fuel consumption these past few days. As it turns out, we actually get 1.668 nautical miles (this is where it pays to be married to an engineer) out of each liter of fuel when we are motoring at 5 knots, in light winds, flat water and with a clean undercarriage. Which means that with our current fuel capacity we can motor 1035nm. Which means we don't have to stop in Bermuda.

Now, I don't have anything against Bermuda. But if we stop, we're going to be stuck there for at least 10 days. Unless we touch and go (clear in - refuel - clear out) we risk being underway when the Newport to Bermuda Race starts on June 18th. There are a lot of things that I want to do with my life, but that list does not include dodging 200 small boats with poor radar signatures in the middle of the gulf stream.

So our new plan is to skip Bermuda (as we get closer to the island we'll make the final call based on weather reports and our daily HF radio conversation with Herb Hildenberg, the weather guru). Which means we could be home as soon as next Thursday or Friday. Which is just a crazy, exciting, overwhelming thing to think about.

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