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Oct 2014

19 Oct. 2014; At Sea.

Today we are sailing southwards towards Florida and we are about 40 miles off the coast of New Jersey. The reason that we are so far out is to avoid the Gulf Stream which lies currently fairly close to the coast. When you are in it, and it is against you, you can have an adverse current of anything between 1.5 and 4 knots and that slows the ship down considerably. Then to maintain the schedule, you have to go faster and that costs more fuel. By sailing outside the Gulf Stream you solve that problem and you might even enjoy a bit of counter current; getting a free push in the back. It might cost a few miles extra in the distance to make but it only takes a quick calculation to decide what works the best. The NOAA and the Military publish charts with the latest location of the axis of the gulfstream but the charts give the situation that has already occurred as it take some time to correlate all the measurements taken into a decent chart. Thus looking for the edge of the Gulf Stream is a sort of quantified gamble. You have the best information available but nothing you can do about it if Mother Nature suddenly decides to shift the Gulf Stream a few miles one way or the other. By tomorrow lunch time we should have a good idea of how good the plan worked. In the meantime the weather is very wobbly and the ship is quite lively even with the stabilizers working overtime. Hurricane Gonzales has moved away and only a few remnants of the swell it caused are still there, but its space has been very quickly taken up by a frontal system moving in from the shore. The Weather people have very nice descriptions for it but I just keep it simple. You should see a hurricane as a vast rotating vacuum cleaner that sucks everything away that is close enough to its vortex. That leaves a void that has to be filled somehow and thus somewhere a weather […]

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