Suddenly, things seem to be looking good. Can I whisper it? The weather for the first part of our crossing is looking good. If we leave on Wednesday, it looks like we’ll head up the Caribbean Sea into seas a metre-and-a-half or so high. Winds about 15-20 knots. I know the forecast is never totally accurate, but the pattern seems set, Quest positively rollicks in these conditions.
Indeed, as we go north, the question will be how much the winds will die out. It’s been unseasonably light-winded in the area off Bermuda. This has allowed depressions to come west off the Carolina coast, dip down into the sub-tropical Atlantic and blow their way across the Gulf Stream. The U.K. has borne the brunt of this weather pattern over the last few wet and windy weeks. My mum says they’re getting to the point in London where they are starting to feel like proverbial moles in holes. Can you bring the sunshine back with you, she asks? Oh dear.
Jack and I are studying the weather by downloading Grib files on Predictwind’s offshore app. I’m learning the importance of breaking the weather into chunks. This is because it changes. Obvious I know. Still, even now, I’m struggling to get to gribs – I mean grips 🤓 – with looking at a picture and thinking, ok, that’s perfect. We can use that wind corridor to cross this part, where we’ll emerge here. Uh, well, you could for a few hours maybe. A few days at most. But then the colours for wind strength and direction of the arrows in that area change. Shame, man.
Also, after about five days of quite certain prediction, the weather models veer dramatically from each other. I learnt this as Jack instructed, by swapping between models to compare forecasts in the Atlantic. I felt like shaking the phone. Was this even the same area, people??
But one thing at a time. First, we have to make north – and with it, as much east as possible. We’ll leave the Caribbean Sea to pass up either through the Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico – or skirt off the Virgin Islands further east if we can. The last option is the most difficult – and strategically beneficial. This spot will give us more options.
That’s the first part. Then it will be out into the Atlantic Ocean. The next chunk of our route will start. We call it ‘the Bermuda turn’. The Bermuda turn is the natural roundabout of wind, where we can turn east without pinching the wind too hard – hopefully. I say hopefully because the weather patterns here become less certain. It’s still too far away for the models to either agree, or to be sure. I touched the bands of colours on the screen, blue to green and to yellow and orange. I wonder how they’ll feel out there.