It is no longer clear that we will have time to visit Ile a Vache. Perhaps we will wave at it ala Cap’n Sparrow.

I thought I would share a bit about of passage planning before we take off Sunday morning. We ended up being delayed here in Aruba waiting for a replacement Xantrax inverter/charger. Tragically, in a rush, when one crew member went to fetch something for another crew member before we left for shore leave we left a hatch open. Then it rained, and the rain found its way through a bunk and fried the battery voltage sensing control board. Obviously, not a warranty item. A few boat units of sigh. Anyways, we got the new inverter/charger and after investigating our options on getting the old one repaired, we decided that Auckland, New Zealand makes much more sense than expensive shipping of the broken 60 pound unit. New Zealand a year from now!

Side Mount

Possible Routes

After looking at several different routes, I am favoring using the red line as a port-side limit and try to gain more northing and favor Haiti over Jamaica. But first, we are off to the Caymans for the winter holidays with friends. We are all looking forward to this sail – it will be double our longest sail as a family together at 800 nautical miles.

Side Mount

Our watching keeping plan

We started our preparations today and discovered that the Raymarine Seatalk network was malfunctioning. Grr, this is a big deal, due to the critically important auto-pilot. Our NMEA 2000 network provides redundant navigation, but gotta have an autopilot. Taking the network apart (many hours later) I narrowed it down to being some corrosion on the backbone cable. I cleaned it a bit, and now everything is working again – most of the time. Watching some YouTube videos I am inspired to try some vinegar and salt and then some baking soda and water to clean it up even more tomorrow. As a back up, I can splice on a new male connector.

Max, Kyle and Kaiwen spent their day provisioning, and then Kaiwen started preparing for the voyage with making homemade pasta sauce that will keep and feed us well! She has several other dishes she will prepare tomorrow. Our fridges are freezers and food lockers are stuffed. All the engine oils have been changed recently – but not too recently! Mainsail has been patched up back in Curacao. No P1s on the boat list.

The exact route and timing I have been working on for a while. Besides the timing with the parts and the network troubleshooting, I really want this long passage to be pleasant for the crew, and so I have been waiting for some fresh winds and their larger swells to pass by. By leaving Sunday morning we will have some 2m swells on the beam for just the first day, and then after that the swells will be much more mild. So mild that by Tuesday we are likely to be caught out in a windless state still ~ 150 nm south of Jamaica / Haiti.

Side Mount

Light winds in the middle

So we will slog through Tue and Wed, but by Thursday we should have some very nice winds aft of the beam and modest waves headed in our same direction.