On Monday, April 15th, we departed from Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas, bound for Norfolk, VA. Our friends, the wonderful Jerda and Jeremy, had flown into Marsh Harbour a few days prior to join us for what was anticipated to be a four to five day passage.

In terms of distance, this journey promised to be our most extensive yet. Utilizing the Gulf Stream for efficiency, we charted a course from the Bahamas to Virginia. Exiting the Abacos just north of Manjack Cay, we set our sights northwestward once we cleared the outer reef.

It took approximately 24 hours for us to reach the Gulf Stream. Tuesday and Wednesday blessed us with near-perfect conditions. We enjoyed winds ranging from 6 to 15 knots, favorably positioned just behind the beam, while a 3-5 knot current propelled us northward. During these two days, our average speed surged to an impressive 10 knots.

Wednesday morning, we had to make the decision whether to stop in Wrightsville Beach or push ahead around Hatteras. Ahead, the weather forecast hinted at potential rough conditions, with high winds expected that night and a shift to northerly winds predicted for Thursday evening. Looking further ahead, the extended forecast appeared unfavorable. Recognizing the potential for challenging conditions, we opted to continue our journey to the Chesapeake.

As anticipated, the winds intensified on Wednesday night, surpassing the forecasted values slightly, yet remaining true to their predicted direction. By Thursday morning, we encountered true wind speeds of up to 30 knots. However, as the day progressed past 10 AM, both the wind and the seas gradually subsided. By Thursday evening, we found ourselves navigating past the Diamond Shoal light and Cape Hatteras under tranquil conditions, with gentle winds and calm seas prevailing.

Just as we exited the Gulf Stream, the wind promptly veered from the north and intensified once more. Thursday night and Friday morning proved to be a challenging struggle against wind and waves as we navigated towards the Chesapeake from Hatteras. The adverse conditions significantly slowed our progress. However, by employing both engines, we managed to muster enough speed to reach Salt Pond Marina in Hampton by Friday afternoon.

It took us a total of four days and nine hours to cover approximately 750 nautical miles, with sailing comprising roughly half of the journey.

Having Jerda and Jeremy on board proved invaluable, enabling us to complete the passage without interruption. The opportunity to get substantial rest during shifts made the open water voyage considerably more enjoyable. Their willingness to extend their watch by an extra hour on Wednesday night, along with Ryan’s assistance, allowed me to recover from a bout of seasickness—a gesture for which I am immensely grateful. Beyond the practical support, sharing this experience with friends brought immeasurable joy. Getting a head start on cruising north was a bonus.

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