DATE: November 10, 2006
The 8th saw the start of the rally on a fog bound morning. At times visibility was limited to the bow of the boat, with 75 rally boats milling about a couple of freighters and assorted other vessel the radar screen was solid with blips. The start was between the committee boat and green marker 18 just south of Thimble. Shoals. Parallax and several other boats camped around the marker and I am sure there were several boats around the committed boat but the fog was so thick we never saw them or the committee boat.
There was no wind to speak of so all the boats started under motor ( rallies are strange things, boats can be under power but suffer a penalty for each minute of engine time). 75 sailing vessels roaring over the start at 7 knots all under power, it was almost comical. When the fog lifted enough you could see the sheepish grins of the other skippers. The wind was light so we were, or at least I was, compelled to fly the asymmetrical spinnaker and cut off the engine. The wind filled in and we were at least able to sail out of the Chesapeake like a proper sailboat.
After some light winds the first few hours we begin to get a real wind at 20 to 25 from the North. We took that down the edge of the Gulfstream where we found a counter current going our way. We ran with this south to almost Cape Hatteras and then cut across the stream at 55 degrees or so. The winds were northwest at 25 and the seas steep 10 to 12 footers but with a preventer on a reefed main we were able to sail a very deep angel and at an average of 10 knots and much faster surfing down the short steep gulf stream waves. We were out of the stream in less than 5 hours.
The evening of the 9th saw Parallax on the ruhmb line making great time in the norther. The next morning as the winds died we set the spinnaker. We were both tired and as the wind shifted we let the boat follow the wind to the south while we both catnapped in the cockpit. Later this proved to be a mistake, as the winds died for nearly 4 days leaving us too far south.