Caribbean 1500 to begin November 2

gbowdish - November 1, 2009

The fleet of 60 boats is gathering in Hampton, VA for the November 2nd start of the 20th Caribbean 1500 rally. Joy For All is ready to go. After getting last-minute boat projects finished this morning we are now staying warm and dry while the weather has turned cold and wet outside. The forecast sounds pretty wet for the next two days, so we are taking advantage of being able to stay warm while we can. The cockpit enclosure helps, but I'll be donning long underwear for the start, and I don't intend to take it off until we've crossed the Gulf Stream. The air and water temperature increase is almost like magic, and even the interior of the boat warms up once you reach the warmer water.

I'll be performing surgery underway (actually, just a simple procedure of removing sutures) after our skipper broke his wrist which required surgery a week ago. We've already informed him that if it gets rough, he's confined to his bunk because with one hand out of commission, he has no “hand for the boat.” Fortunately, Joy For All is set up for shorthanded sailing, with hydraulics and electric winches to make setting, furling and trimming sails so much easier.

The skipper's meeting and weather briefing took place about an hour ago, and we learned that our departure will happen on schedule tomorrow at noon. We start on Eastern Standard Time, but as soon as we cross the starting line, we'll go on Atlantic Standard Time, which is the same as Eastern Daylight Time, which ended last night. Time is relative anyway, and once we begin our journey we will live by sunrise and sunset, adjusting the sails for the wind speed and direction, getting in the rhythm of the rolling waves, standing watch, twice daily radio call-ins and weather checks. We expect an 8-day passage, arriving in the British Virgin Islands around November 10th. I'll have my Spot tracker on, and here's the page to follow the journey:

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