Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sailing to a schedule

We avoided it as long as we could, but that's what we're doing now. More accurately, we're motoring to try to keep our schedule. Since we broke the jib halyard and tore the jib, we've been behind. One or two weeks in Antigua would have been plenty, but with waiting for repairs, it was closer to three. We skipped the islands in between in order to say good-bye to Liat and Assaf at Sint Maarten and then hurried on to St. John to see the Parkers and the Peoples. The need for electrical repairs then sent us hurrying off to Puerto Rico.

PR was fun, but it was mostly getting stuff fixed. We had our high-output alternator rebuilt in San Juan, so that meant two trips from Fajardo to San Juan, which turned into three when it wasn't ready when it was supposed to be. We also got a new regulator for our generator there. Then John installed everything, changed the oil, and we made time for a couple of other side trips in addition to provisioning. We made a special trip to go to Old San Juan and another to follow Anthony Bourdain's path into the mountains for whole spitted pig at Lechonera Los Pinos. The trip to the mountains also let us see some of the south coast of the island since we missed the unmarked turn-off for the scenic route through the mountains and ended up going around. It was all scenic, and PR is on our list of places to revisit. In fact, I don't know why more people don't make it a destination in itself.

We left PR a day earlier than planned because there was no good wind in the forecast, which means that we have to motor and go slow. We do have a need to be in Texas to get the boat on a truck to the West Coast, hopefully by June 15th, and that's what's driving the schedule. It's a surprisingly long way from Fajardo, PR, to Isla Mujeres, Mexico (1,270 nm), and we can't motor the whole way without stopping for fuel. So we'll stop briefly in Jamaica just to refuel. So far we've been out almost four whole days, and we've only been able to turn the motor off for 8 hours. We were very pleased to get those 8 hours of sailing because they weren't forecast either. We're talking with Herb of South Bound II again daily and getting other weather sources over the SSB radio. Maybe later in the week we'll get some favorable winds and be able to sail again.

Right now we're south of Haiti about 30 hours out from our refueling stop at Bowden Harbour on the east end of Jamaica. All is well aboard Solstice.


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