Our longest passage?
Three hundred and twenty miles. For those who have done multi-week ocean crossings, this distance is but a tiny jump. For the two of us though, it would represent our longest passage to date, assuming that we were to complete it in one go.
Three hundred and twenty miles is the distance from Bequia, where our boat now lies, to St. Martin, where we plan to sail towards this morning. Note the use of the word “towards” as opposed to “to.” In a sailboat, one does not sail to a destination. Rather, one heads towards a location and hopes that Mother Nature will allow landfall at the desired spot. Many things could happen to prevent this but, in this case, we have a good weather forecast and a favorable sailing direction. With luck, the two of those things will work together to allow us to make the passage in one jump. If not, we’ll stop elsewhere and you’ll likely hear from us sooner. If the conditions for traveling remain suitable though, we’ll just keep on truckin’.
Last year we spent Christmas morning at Maho Beach, St. Martin.
Perhaps we’ll be able to visit there on New Year’s Day this year.
Curious about how long a passage like this would take us? We generally base our estimates around a speed of 5 knots. However, if we can sail faster, we will obviously arrive at our destination a lot quicker. For example:
- 320 nm @ 4.5 knots = 71 hours
- 320 nm @ 5.0 knots = 64 hours
- 320 nm @ 5.5 knots = 58 hours
- 320 nm @ 6.0 knots = 53 hours
As you can see, a little increase in speed has a big effect and in this case, it means the difference between being underway for 2 nights or 3 nights. Obviously, we would prefer it to be only two so, to increase our chances of sailing faster, we have scrubbed our boat’s bottom so that it is super clean and we have swapped our little self-tacking jib for our big 150% genoa. We expect that both of those things will pay off for us. Wish us luck and we’ll see you on the other side.
Note: We will endeavor to keep our Spot tracker running for the duration of the passage but as always, if it stops, do not freak out. It is not a safety device for us. We have a real EPIRB that serves that function. Also, we will be far enough offshore that there is little chance of us obtaining an internet signal. We’ll do our best to make up for the lack of posts when we make landfall.