Tuesday, March 28, 2017

To Cuba Day 1

We are having a wonderful sail. Smooth seas, steady breeze, warm and no rain or squalls. We are doing 3 hours on and 3 hours off.

Sailing solo is very different from sailing with crew. When you are by yourself, there is no time that you can relax.

This afternoon we loaded provisions onto the boat mainly from Kurt's boat. My refrigerator is not as big as his so we have a lot to eat before it goes off.

Normally when I do a blog posting, I focus on one topic. But when I am using my Inreach, each of the messages are just 160 characters so I can't say much.

There's no moon tonight so it is pitch black outside. I do see a light on my Port side on the horizon that is probably Puerto Rico.

Sailing on board a boat is so mesmerizing. It's somewhat similar to watching a fire or waves crashing on a beach. It is so beautiful tonight with all the stars.

We just passed within half a mile of a huge cruise ship called Disney Fantasy. I could have read a book from all the lights on the boat.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Taking on crew and leaving today

Meet Kurt, my crew for the sail to Cuba. Owner of a gorgeous Passport, is an avid sailor, photographer, diver and has sailed the Caribbean 1500, and previous Salty Dawg Rallies. I'm so used to sailing alone, that it will be a huge learning experience for me. I feel honored to have such an experienced sailor aboard, and am really looking forward to the experience.

The other big news is that we finally got the green light to leave so I am headed to Soper's Hole where I will overnight and continue the following morning.

Remember to follow me at http://share.delorme.com/PeterRyan

Or https://wx.ocens.com/everon/tracking3.php
And then enter sdrcuba in the group.

I will continue to update my blog for the next month but it will probably be just text.

The Baths, Virgin Gourda, BVI

Without any other pressing engagements, my neighbor, Peter on a beautiful Catamaran named Bob and I headed over to the other end of the island today, to take a look at Baths National Park.
The area is full of these neat rocks and caves.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Early tropical storm?

This is from weather underground.

An early appearance for the Atlantic’s first named storm of 2017?
The models are predicting the formation of a large area of low pressure a few hundred miles east of the Bahamas on Sunday and Monday, and this low has the potential to acquire characteristics of a subtropical storm as it heads north and then northeast, passing a few hundred miles southeast of Bermuda on Tuesday. Water temperatures in the region are near 24°C (75°F), which is near average, and these waters may be barely warm enough to support formation of a subtropical depression or subtropical storm. According to phase space diagrams from Florida State University, the low will initially have a warm core that will gradually weaken as the storm encounters cooler waters near 21°C (70°F) by Tuesday. We give 5-day odds of 10% of this low becoming a subtropical depression or subtropical storm. According to NOAA’s Historical Hurricane Tracks, the only March tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic was a Category 2 hurricane that passed through the Lesser Antilles on March 8, 1908.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters

There is no way that I would want to go out there and sail in the deep blue when you have a potential named storm floating around. I'll happily wait in harbor for another day or two.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

On the horns of a dilemma

Well I am sitting here in the BVI, frustrated and pondering what to do. Normally the trade winds blow from east to west and then Havana is a 9 day 1000 mile voyage from here all downwind. Right now, there is a low pressure system, NW of here that is blowing headwinds against us all the way west to the Dominican republic. According to Chris Parker, our weather guru, there is a 50% chance that this will develop into a tropical storm. In other words, we are all stuck here in Virgin Gourda. Next Thursday is the first day that I could start sailing. That means that I will not get to Havana until the weekend after next instead of the scheduled Wednesday April 5. Now there is one option I do have and that is to go south of Cuba. Trouble with that, is 1500 miles instead of 1000 and 14 days instead of 9. It is downwind and waters are calm but the one risk I would take is if there is a north east wind blowing, when I enter the gulf stream, west of Havana, that would create steep standing waves and be impossible to sail against.

One other option that we have yet to explore, is the possibility of changing our permission from the USA government to accommodate our new dates.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Delayed start

Well the weather has put off my departure to Cuba. This is what Chris Parker, the weather guru said yesterday.

I do not think I would initiate new travel in the region N of the Greater Antilles (PR/DR/Haiti/Cuba), and if I were underway in this area, I'd try to be in Port before Sunset Fri24, when large N swell establishes.

I have 4 spare days built in so all is well. If I leave later than Monday, there's a chance that I will be getting to Cuba after April 5, but I would rather do that than risk having a rough trip

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Preparing for Cuba

Friday, March 24, I will be sailing 1000 miles to Cuba as part of the Salty Dawg Rally comprised of 24 boats, many of whom are here with me staging at Leverick Bay. I will be updating my blog every day on my voyage and you can follow my whereabouts real-time at
https://share.delorme.com/PeterRyan
Or to see all the boats in the rally, go to the following website and enter SDR in the group
https://wx.ocens.com/everon/tracking3.php
The US government has strict rules about going to Cuba so I can only be there April 5 to 18. Because it will be a bit of a challenge to sail so far and be there on an exact date, I have decided to leave a little early and stop off in Racoon Cay for a couple of days, which is in the Ragged Islands in the Bahamas.
One plan is to go north of the Turk's and Caicos and then south of Aklins Island before stopping off in Racoon Cay. I'm not all that comfortable with going this way because then I will be on a Lee shore but in the end, the winds will dictate which way I will go. From Racoon Cay it is 350 miles to the Hemingway Marina just west of Havana. I've heard that unlighted Cuban fishermen cross this Bahama channel at night to fish on the banks like the "old man and the sea" so I will need to stay vigilant.
Because I will have very limited access to the Internet over the next few weeks, especially in Cuba, I will be relying on my Inreach satellite device to stay in touch. Send me a message if you can spare a moment. You may not see any more photos on this blog for a while but I will save them up and post them once I get back to the USA.
I have set myself a task of doing a write-up on all 500 restaurants or "caladares" in Havana while I am there so I will be busy.