Did we miss the on-ramp?

Some of you have expressed a sense of bewilderment while following our course in the past 36 hours. From why do we seem to be heading north to Nova Scotia? To, wait, now we must be going south to Venezuela to visit Chavez. The answer thankfully is neither. We continue to Spain via the Azores, it is just that in sailing the fastest way to get from point A to point B is most often not a straight line.

This fundamental truth in sailing compounded by winds that were blowing opposite to what would be considered “normal” in the North Atlantic, would give anybody looking at our route the impression that we had just missed the on-ramp. Specially when considering that for the past 12 hours we have been sailing East. As if we were first lost and now have found our way. I think it was that 2,184,596th wave left of the dolphin to be exact where we should have turned…

Some background, in the Atlantic for the most part winds tend to blow in a certain way. Clockwise around typical high pressure systems in the middle of the ocean. That is why people going east typically take the northern route and people going west take the southern route. The exceptions are the Europe to Newport regattas which takes the northern route because it is the toughest and you end up having tack back and forth A LOT thanks to the winds coming straight at you.

So we are heading north-east in a nice curvy arc to the Azores when over a period of time we notice that wind was now blowing straight at us which is highly unusual, we opted to go straight north for a while hoping for a change back, nothing. So we headed back south to not get too close to Sable Island and just as strangely as the wind had shifted earlier it shifted back so we headed back east and are cruising once again.

The only take away is that nothing is “normal” in the Atlantic and we will do our best to not again miss the on-ramp or accidentally get off the highway by turning on the wrong wave.