Passage to Abaco

April 14.

Looking Northwest from Lynyard Cay.

We’ve waited two days for the perfect conditions to take us from Current Settlement back to the Abacos. With the promise of 10-15mph of easterly wind we have sails up at 6:00am. There is no moon, no sun until 6:45, and no wind — well, just a zephyr from the southeast.

We sail west. By 8:00 we have passed a reef, a wreck, and Egg Island. It’s time to turn north. We are on an intersecting course with a big mail boat. But we have just enough wind to jibe and get out of his path.

By 10 we have crept past Royal Island with a fluttery 10pmh breeze. By noon we are in the middle of the Northeast Providence Channel, where we have seen several container ships in the past. Nothing on the horizon now but a couple of cruisers that had a head start on us. We keep tuning sails trying to reel them in.

Finally we get our promised wind. With the wind slightly behind our beam we are making 6 knots. Slowly we start gaining on the other two boats. The island of Great Abaco is far to our left and won’t appear as a haze on the horizon for hours.

Having steered the same compass heading for since 8:00am, I turn off the GPS to save power. Over the next couple of hours we make significant gains on the other boats, but they seem to be steering left of our destination. With 25 miles of hostile coastline over there I wonder where they are headed. Oh, maybe Cherokee Point, an anchorage we were unsatisfied with last season.

After we pass far to the right of one of the boats I turn the GPS back on. We’ve been making over 7 knots, and heading too far east, I was in danger of shooting past the Little Harbor cut into the Sea of Abaco.

I make corrections and head in, having plenty of time to watch both other boats navigate the cut ahead of us. We strike sails and Duwan takes us through, and to a nice spot by Lynyard Cay. The twelve hour, 60 mile trip is over. No more crossings for a while. Time for supper.

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