Preparing to Take Off

We’re famous:  Sunset on the Bay

Well, I suppose tomorrow is the day that Jodi and I have worked towards for 3 years.  Sort of, anyway.  We’ll be sailing out into the Gulf on our own to travel for about 5 days to a new destination,  Gulfport, Mississippi, to see a friend, Jerry Bond.

The weather looks good, though the prevailing wind and current will be on our nose.  Emet does well to windward and as the saying goes, even a cardboard box can sail downwind.  The yellow star is the location where the “weather data” on the left came from.  That’s pretty much what it looks like through Friday at this point.

There are a couple of tropical disturbances in the Atlantic, but they are just disturbances at this point and quite a ways away, so their threat is minimal.  My bigger concern is dodging all the oil rigs and production platforms off the Texas and Louisiana coasts.  I plotted a route on our charting software that gives us at least several nautical miles clearance from most . . . at least the ones that are charted.  Of course, we’re sailing, so that means we are at the mercy of the wind and current, but they should be easily avoided.

The ICW could get us there, but that has its own risks and requires a massive amount of fuel.  As everything with a sailboat, there are always trade-offs.  As I write this, I think the stress of sailing in the Gulf will be less than motoring down the ICW with all the barge traffic and debris that has to be avoided.  My opinion on that matter could change at any moment.

We will be using an untested sheet to wheel self steering system that will hopefully allow us to not have to man the helm at all times.  So, while this is our first “trip”, we’re not crossing an ocean and this trip is also a sort of shakedown cruise to help us tune systems and see what we need to change.  We’ve set up a lot of stuff based on ideas and day sails in the bay.

I had looked at getting an electric self-steering system, but other expenses consumed those monetary resources and right now, I’m kind of glad that I don’t have it.  It’s one more electric device that has to be maintained and simply adds to the load on the battery bank and solar panels.  We’ve had cloudy weather for the past week and the batteries are staying sort of topped off, but they haven’t received a good, full charge since we anchored.  This will be a good opportunity to explore the self-steering using the sheets from one of the sails and tweak, adjust, and change as necessary.

Our water tanks our completely full thanks to all the rain, diesel tank is full, there’s plenty of food, we’ve already rearranged and stowed just about everything.

All we’re waiting for now is Monday.

270 Degrees West
Anchored Peacefully

2 thoughts on “Preparing to Take Off

  1. I am looking forward to meeting you guys in Gulfport later this week. Smooth sailing and watch those rigs. By the way, it really didn’t break the bank for fuel when I motored the ICW to New Orleans and the trip between Morgan City and Houma is pretty spectacular. Suggesting only if you feel the need to duck inside. Take care, see you in GP!

    1. Our bank is MUCH smaller than yours. ;-) Weather looks fair, so it should be nice. See you in about 5 days or so.

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