Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cruise Planning

I was thinking about what I wrote yesterday – about never committing to the destination. I think that’s good advice, but sometimes, especially if the crew is strong, it is quite satisfying to strive for and win the harbor, even if it means a long beat in strong winds. So, if the crew is gung ho, one might hesitate to abandon a goal when conditions become harsh. “What does not kill us makes us stronger”, and all that, and the first cocktail after the boat is secured tastes pretty good when you’ve really earned it.

Having said that, if I am planning a pleasant day sail on a cruise, I take into account the weather report, current, and of course the crew. If there are kids on board, I might plan to stop at an island along the way. If there is an interesting passage, such as Fox Islands Thoroughfare or Thread of Life in these parts, we’ll go out of our way to transit. If we are all adults, we’ll probably plan a longer, harder sail, but always with alternatives built in. If the goal is an anchorage way up one of Maine’s sounds, I’ll certainly try to ride the tide up the sound. It’s not critical to have a fair tide for these sounds, but with a fair tide and a light wind one may be less prone to reach for the engine start switch. In a fading southwest breeze, running with the spinnaker and a fair tide one can make good time, but with the tide foul you’ll likely motor.

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