Gambling with weather

I have a few rules when it comes to sailing offshore. One, is NEVER travel on “weather transition” days. “Never” seems pretty strong. Mostly “never”.

These are the days where the winds are clocking around to a new wind pattern. For example, if winds start out in the AM from the South….and are predicted to be blowing from the NORTH by the afternoon — this would be a NO NO for sailing. Generally, the winds clock FASTER than they are predicted…and in our case we would be doing battle with winds on the nose.

So, when I woke up at 3:30AM to study the latest weather patterns, it looked as if we had a small window. Winds would be south / southwest…and by 4pm…they would be out of the north. If we could make the same speeds we made during the sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Lake Worth (or even 8 knots) – we would be in Ft. Pierce in 6 hours. Knowing that the transition days clock to new wind direction ALWAYS earlier than predicted….we would have to leave….early. Pre-dawn. Just because the winds always transition early. If we don’t sail today….we may be stuck in Lake Worth for 3-4 days waiting for weather.

By 5AM we decided to go for it – and at 5:30AM motored out of the Lake Worth Inlet. It is 55 miles to Ft. Pierce. The sea state was delightful. Calm. One problem tho. There was very little wind. So much for plans to travel at 8 knots minimum. We motor sailed for the first 3 hours…and then the winds picked up from the southwest. I am becoming greedy. If our speed dropped below 8 knots, I started fussing that we needed to trim the sails better. We need 9+ knots to make up for lost time.

Be careful what you wish for. We are 45 minutes from Ft. Pierce, and the winds are transitioning. Out of the west now…over 20 knots. We pick up more speed – and reach the inlet by 12:10. Just in time. 30 minutes later, it rained…and the winds clocked over to north east. We lucked out gambling today. I won’t make a habit of it tho.

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