At 2:30 AM Thursday morning, I head out for my single-handed qualifier for the 2015 Bermuda 1-2 Yacht Race, which requires that I sail solo for no less than 200 miles offshore over no less than 48 hours.
The course will take me about 40 miles from Larchmont, NY, through Hell Gate, down the East River, out of NY Harbor, and past Sandy Hook--before I can even count miles towards qualifying. From there, I will sail 100 miles mostly parallel to (but, on occasion, through), some of the world's busiest shipping channels; and then 100 miles back.
This qualifier will be my first solo offshore, and will be my longest solo sail to date. Needless to say, I am anxious. I am ready to go, but have a healthy amount of fear in view of the distance, marine traffic, and the variable of sleep. Sailing the boat is the easy part. The name of the game out there will be safety, and staying smart. My first priority is returning home safely to my family.
Abilyn is ready to go, and is basically chomping at the (mooring) bit after taking part these past two weekends in two single-handed races: The Leukemia Cup Regatta and the Port Washington YC Charity Cup Regatta. Abilyn is loaded with a JetBoil, dehydrated food, homemade sandwiches, 15 liters of water, Clif Shot Bloks, and all necessary safety items, including a Winslow 4-man ultra-light life raft, offshore flare kit, ACR GlobalFix iPRO 406 MHz GPS EPIRB, and ACR ResQLink GPS personal locator beacon (all of which were supplied by Landfall Navigation in Stamford, CT), passive radar reflector, emergency epoxy, and no less than FIVE GPS modules (excluding the locator beacons) to name a few items.
Over the next two days, the breeze is expected to build to 10-20 knots from the northwest, clock to the northeast and build to 25 knots, and then continue to clock all the way around to the south and diminish to 10-15 knots by Saturday. If all goes according to plan, I'll have a reach and run out to the virtual mark 100 miles off Ambrose, and then a reach and run back in. I've been using PredictWind's forecast maps to plan the trip. Here's what they show:
I invite all who are interested to track Abilyn and me as we head out into the ocean. You can access the tracker either through our website or directly through Facebook. Links are provided below.
See you out on the water.
NWS Marine Forecast (New England)