The weather man! In January on our journey south we were forced to leave Sunday Morning in Charleston, SC for a few weeks. The weekend of Feb. 5, 2016 was going be the best time to resume our voyage home, coincidentally Van had business in Charleston that week. In preparation for our return, and, as we do with any voyage long or short, we studied the weather for weeks leading up to our passage. The best day for our departure was clearly going to be Friday morning. We knew the winds would be kicking up on Sunday Morning north of Palm Beach - they were expected to be up to 40 knots. For us, 40 knots can work depending on a combination of factors, including the direction of both the wind and the seas. We decided it would all be in our favor so, early on Friday morning we cast our lines and headed south.
Friday afternoon was going really well - blue skies, calm seas and an average of about 10 knots of wind. With an average cruising speed of about 8.7 knots, we were happy, at this speed we would make excellent time to our destination, Palm Beach. On Saturday morning I was on watch and noticed we were starting to get pushed around - nothing too bad, but it was getting slightly uncomfortable (I don't like uncomfortable). Van woke for his watch around 9 AM and together we thought we needed to explore our options. Although Van is a hearty sailor, I can't say the same. With every cruise my motto is - it's all about the ride. In Van's case, it's the same as everyday life, it's all about a happy wife. With weather band on the VHF and Predict Wind (http://www.predictwind.com), Buoy Weather (http://www.predictwind.com) and Passage Weather (http://www.predictwind.com) all open on the iPad and laptops, it looked like the ride would not be a comfortable one - definitely not the one that was originally forecast. Hearing gale force winds doesn't make me say YAY - that's for sure! Keep in mind, gale force winds will just make it uncomfortable for us - safety was never a consideration - we were in a Nordhavn afterall. At this point we were too far from Port Canaveral to make it in before the weather turned and/or the sun set. Our position at the time was off the coast of Daytona Beach and we decided our best plan would be to turn in, park the boat and enjoy a nice dinner with our feet firmly planted on solid ground. We were in no rush. In the morning we would review the weather again and decide on our next step in getting Sunday Morning closer to home. We pulled in the Ponce de Leon inlet to the Intracoastal Waterway, called a few marinas and made a plan. We tied up Sunday Morning just as the winds were starting to blow harder and the rain was beginning to fall in New Smyrna Beach. It was a stormy night and it turned out to be a really good call, no, I mean a REALLY good call.
On Monday morning, with a cup of coffee and the remote in hand, I turned on the Today Show. I couldn't believe my eyes! There was a report on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas getting tossed around in the Atlantic. Yes, the same Atlantic where we were - of the coast of South Carolina and northern Florida. Yes, the 168,000 ton ship was getting tossed around. Although Anthem was further out to sea by about 125 - 150 miles, it was the same sea. No one could have predicted the weather was going to turn out like that - that is not what every weather source was forecasting - trust ME on that one. Anthem of the Seas faced winds up to 150 mph and seas crashing into their sides at around 30 feet. The planned forecast would have been fine for a ship that size, Anthem had nothing to worry about. Don't blame the captain or the company on the call to set sail, blame the weather man - he was wrong, very, very wrong. Another case of the media sensationalizing an unfortunate story.