Playing the Game of "Catch Up"

June 17, 2011

DATE: FRIDAY JUNE 17, 2011
TIME: 1300 ATLANTIC DAYLIGHT TIME = 1200 EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME
POSITION: NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT BETWEEN CAPE BRETON ISLAND AND EAST END OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
WEATHER: FLAT CALM, SUNNY, PLEASENTLY DRY & WARM

We are making a stab at catching up with the original itinerary from Lunenburg towards Rochester, New York. We are three days behind schedule due to the easterly winds that kept PRIDE II in Lunenburg.

So far we are keeping to the new “catching up” schedule of still trying to arrive in Rochester on the original date…despite being behind by three days at the start of this transit. The problem with this effort is that it is right on the edge of feasibility. Several things can go wrong. The central trick is to keep a reserve of fuel for the required motoring up the narrow part of the St. Lawrence River, i.e., not use more than the excess allowance of fuel beyond what is required to climb the narrow part of the river as we make our way through open water to the narrow part of the river.

The only way we can achieve this goal is to find favorable wind during the more open water areas of the route to Rochester…wind that will push PRIDE II along at the needed speed, or faster, for at least a day without motoring…hopefully nearly two days. In other measure, we need to be able to cover at least 200 nautical miles under sail…it would be better if we could cover 400 nautical miles…before we reach the pilot station at Les Escoumins, Quebec (about 150 nautical miles east and down river from Quebec City). If we cannot find enough wind to carry PRIDE II the needed distance in short enough time…we will arrive late through waiting to sail the needed minimum distance…no matter how long it takes. So I am keeping track of the weather forecast and continually reassessing what fuel we can use while the wind is not strong enough to push PRIDE II along fast enough to catch up with the itinerary.

Right now, and since departing Lunenburg, there has been very little wind. The little bit of wind that showed itself Thursday as we traveled east along the Nova Scotian coast was favorable, but not enough strength to keep speed up with the goal of catching up our lost time. Had we decided the lost time was lost to us and accepted a late arrival in Rochester…we could have sailed yesterday about half to two thirds the time. But we would have taken almost half again as long to cover the distance. If we had done that, we would be near 12 hours behind where we are now. The current strategy is to go ahead and see if we can keep a higher speed while under power when the wind is not blowing, with the hope the new and favorable wind expected tomorrow (Saturday) will enable us to turn engines off and still sail at our motoring speed, or even faster. If we can get at least 24 hours sailing time (preferably longer) of similar speed to what we are achieving under power, or faster, I think we can conserve enough fuel to not risk running out at the last little bit of distance before arriving Rochester, while also catching up to the original itinerary.

The success of this strategy is dependent on the weather report. If the forecast I am seeing turns out to be mostly correct, it looks like we may be able to get 24 hours, maybe even longer, of similar or faster speed while sailing without engines during Saturday and part of Sunday. If we are able to achieve that, I think we could be successful with this hurry up effort.

Wish us luck!

Cheers,
Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard  PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II


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