Together is Better in the Bahamas!

Bahamas 50 Bow10 a.m., May 6, 2018, aboard Krogen 50' Open "TOGETHER"

For the past few days, we’ve (Larry Polster & Janet Baer) been patiently waiting (maybe not so patiently!) for a decent weather window, and now, finally, the forecast is favorable for a crossing. So, this morning, we pulled up anchor in West Palm Beach and headed out the inlet. Our destination is West End, Bahamas, approximately 60 nautical miles to our west. Easy, right? Just head east (101 degrees for 7.5 hours) and we’re there. It is not that simple.

The route involves crossing the Gulfstream, an ocean current that moves north at an average of 2.5 knots. For every hour traveled, the Gulfstream sets you approximately 2.5 nautical miles to the north. So, if we simply headed directly for West End on the 101-degree course, we would miss it by about 17 miles! To account for the Gulfstream, we are on a course of 121 degrees, which seemingly points us south of West End, but by the time we cross the stream, we will be exactly in-line with our destination. 

It’s just after 10 a.m., and we’re about half-way there! Janet’s been on watch for the past two hours—I’ve made us breakfast, taken a shower, and am now relaxing and writing this post! Now that I think about it, it’s been a long time that I’ve showered while underway (you simply cannot aboard a planing hull)—nice to have such a relaxing view and a deep seat!

Right now, I’m saying, “Damn! We nailed this!”  

TOGETHER received a nice rinse, too, from a passing rain squall a little bit ago which hopefully rinsed away the last of the dirt on the decks from the city.

All the while, as each half-hour passes on this journey, we’ve been noting our position, course, speed, engine RPM and temperature on a pad of paper, and have plotted our position on the paper chart we have—just in case those wonderful, 22-inch Garmin Nav screens decide to take a holiday! At least this way we know where we are at any point, within a half hour, and can manually navigate. I know that sounds old-fashioned, especially since there are two independent GPS receivers connected to the two Garmin plotters, and since we also carry two handheld GPS units, but my feeling is that if the GPS satellites were to go out for some reason, we’re safe.

2 p.m., May 7, 2018

We’re on the Little Bahamas Bank, roughly half-way between Memory Rock and Great Sale Cay. There is absolutely nothing around us except crystal clear, turquoise water. At our current speed of 8.5 knots, we should arrive at Great Sale in about 2.5 hours. 

Janet on the BowToday is the first day since Janet and I took delivery of our Krogen 50’ Open TOGETHER that time has felt somewhat irrelevant. Until now, all our travel has centered around being at a certain location, on a certain date, and often at a certain time. Even yesterday, when crossing to the Bahamas, we were under a bit of a schedule as we wanted to arrive in plenty of time to clear Customs. But today feels different. We have our destination in mind, but the weather is favorable, so what does it matter if we arrive at three, five or seven? It’s nice to be travelling slow again, without a real schedule. I have missed that feeling I grew to love when we owned our Krogen 42’, the first TOGETHER. We were never going anywhere in a hurry, and we felt it really didn’t matter, even if we were just weekend boaters on the Chesapeake Bay.

Weekend boaters with an 8-knot boat? What made it work for us is that on the Chesapeake Bay, like many other locations, such as the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Great Lakes and New England, the Bay has so many destinations within 20 to 25 miles of homeport. Within three hours, we were always at a great destination for the weekend. Plus, our Krogen afforded more space and storage in which to live and play with our (then) young daughter.

Of course, there are those on the Bay who want a 20-to-25-knot boat to be able to get somewhere in an hour, but sometimes those boaters don’t account for what I call “housework time”.  Reading this, you may think I am making a sales pitch for full displacement, but I share all this from personal experience. Until last year, I owned a Down East style boat that cruised at 18-20 knots.

I’ll explain. In our prior Krogen days, we would arrive at the boat on Friday evening, relax, and have a nice dinner. Saturday morning, we would wake up and get underway and be at our weekend plans well before lunchtime. While underway, we would make coffee, shower, cook and eat breakfast. Versus, when we later had our fast boat, we would wake up, make coffee, shower, cook, eat, clean up and stow everything, all before leaving. “Housework time” ate up at least an hour, maybe more! Depending on the habits of everyone on board, it all can make the overall trip longer.

Bahamas 50 Aft DeckSo, why did we sell our first Krogen if it worked so well for our weekend boating? Simple. I changed careers from one that was Monday to Friday, nine-to-five, to one that included parts of many weekends. We needed a boat that was more geared for day trips and less overnights.

Sitting here, writing this while underway, it makes me realize just how happy Janet and I are to be living the cruising life again.


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