It was cold.
As I think about it, that is the major takeaway. We have started this project much too late in the season (to suit our thin blood).
Carol has been worried about this event since before we bought the boat that sunk. Most of her concern has been seasickness. So I tried to pick a weather window that included as steady a sea state as possible. This one seemed perfect. Winds from 15 and diminishing, waves no more than three feet with a period of around 10 seconds. It just doesn't get much better than that, unless it's all of that and lows around 78 degrees. The low was not 78 degrees, and we are in the elements. Even with the diminished wind, what wind there was came basically slightly off of forward, and we added the wind we generated into the equation. It made for a long night.
The slowing down part? Poor planning on my part. I thought the passage was around 24 hours, based on several people who had done similar passages. I never did the math.
Sea Bird motors at a comfortable 6 knot cruising speed. After we left Skull Creek, I set the throttle at that speed. Currents took some of it off, but then we reached the ocean, cleared the inlet, and set up on our rhumb line for St. Mary's. Since we left around 8:30, I thought the next morning around the same time would be a perfect time to arrive, as I didn't want to enter an unfamiliar port in the dark. My GPS kindly did the figuring for me and told me excitedly that my arrival time at current speed would be around 1:00. In the morning. Hummm...
So I decreased speed to five knots. That would put us there around 6:00am, hopefully just after sunrise (another thing I didn't check). It did add five hours to our time behind the wheel. Oh, and it conserved diesel. Rookie.
On the wildlife front, Carol saw loggerhead turtles, a herd(?) of jellyfish, and dolphin came out to say hello, swimming right beside the boat.
We still got there before sunrise and spent about an hour waiting for the sunrise. Carol got some spectacular shots.
The night was spent alternating two hour watches. Between radar, snacks, coffee, chicken and dumplings and autopilot, we got through it pretty well. I think we made a pretty good team. I don't think, however, we will be doing that again anytime soon, at least at that temperature setting. I'm too old.
So we have decided we are tired of being behind the temperature curve, and we are going to get ahead of it. We have plotted a course that should put us in Ft Lauderdale in the next four days or so. That should put us in the weather sweet spot.
Pictures are below.