Updated: Dec 7, 2021
As you can tell from our most recent posts, safety is huge for us. We don’t want to cause any damage to our boat or ourselves, so putting proper priority on safety gear and applications is essential. While it might be romantic to just sail into the sunset with no plan, it’s not safe. I decided to write this week a little about the other ways we ensure safety rather than just using our brains!
Buddy boating is a great option for upping safety. While Jeremiah and I are very knowledgeable and make smart decisions, sometimes having another brain or two to bounce ideas off of is helpful. It also lessens some anxiety knowing that you have someone watching your back. A buddy boat can also help keep you awake during your overnight shift! Before we left Grenada, we were lucky enough to meet another couple that was planning on doing the same passage back to the US. We quickly befriended them and decided to use each other as our buddy boats! They are on an awesome boat-- a 35ft Island Packet! We were so excited about our new buddies.
The most difficult part of planning is most certainly the weather. We have a few different tools to help us navigate around the weather windows. The first investment was PredictWind. This subscription is awesome-- they run their own global weather model and give you all of the stats you need to know depending on time of day and direction of your cruise. It tells you different options you have and will even help you in determining how long it will take you to get somewhere. For instance, for us to get from Grenada to Puerto Real, PredictWind told us we would get there in 3.5 days, max wind would be 21.3 knots, minimum would be 11.8, waves would be 1-2 meters 100% of the time and we would be reaching 60% of the time and downwind 40% of the time. We can put in different dates and times and the app spits out that info so we can make an informed decision on when it is best for us to leave-- How cool??
We don’t just rely on one weather application, we also have 2 other tools. We utilize a weather router and Chris Parker. A weather router is basically a meteorologist that watches us on satellite and emails us changes we should be doing. A change could be something like a sail shift due to a change in the weather pattern or a change of course. If you have been a patron for a while then you might remember us talking a little about Chris Parker and the Marine Weather Center. He is a meteorologist that was also a sailor so he really knows his stuff. When he says something will happen, it typically does!
We are very happy with our set-up and feel prepared whenever it is time for us to make a pass. With these extra safety precautions, it takes some stress off of us and helps us to enjoy the sail!
Photo: A snapshot of PredictWind and our projected course.
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