Wednesday Evening, June 23, 2021
South of Nova Scotia
Latitude 42o 57’ N
Longitude 68o 13’ W
Heading for Warmer Water
After two nights at Hurricane Island the final preparations for the boat were complete and we motored out in a deep fog at 5 am Tuesday morning. There are ledges and rocks just off the mooring field at Hurricane and we would not have attempted navigating with no visibility without the help of redundant global positioning systems and a magnetic heading that would lead us safely out to open water in the unlikely event that all our electronic navigation were to fail. The fog stayed with us most of the day. By dinner time visibility had improved, the winds were mild and steady, and the barometer was rising so we decided to risk not putting a point of reef in the mainsail for the night.
Caution would have been a better choice. Around midnight the wind picked up and the diffuse glow of distant lightning through the fog let us know that there was no time to waste in reefing the mainsail and genoa before the front hit. As it passed over the top of us, the storm dropped at least an inch of rain in the space of 10 minutes, followed by a dramatic wind shift from South to NW. The waves and winds were not a threat, but they made for a very tiring night for all hands.
By morning we had rounded the southern tip of Nova Scotia and have enjoyed a beautiful day of clear sailing since. Landfall in Ireland is approximately 2200 nm to the Northeast via the great circle route. However, before turning that direction we are headed SE in search of warmer water that will indicate we’ve entered the favorable current of the Gulf Stream. Crossing the entrance to the Bay of Fundy the measured water temperature was a balmy (by Maine standards) 60F. Entering the Labrador current off Nova Scotia the water temperature dropped to 47 F. As we continue SE, we expect to be able to tell when we’re in the Gulf Stream when we encounter warmer water, at which point we’ll turn and follow it to the British Isles. Meanwhile, tonight we’ll put a point of reef in the main sail, no matter how beautiful the moon.