Hot foot to the south

We had a fun but very busy return home visiting Northern Ireland, Herefordshire, London and Gothenburg all in 3 weeks. A big thank you for all the generous hospitality, it was great to see everybody. We will allow a bit longer next time but we were delayed going home because of Julian’s eye and then nervous about making the trip south before the weather turned against us.

It was very, very cold when we returned to the boat – definitely thermals time. A Capella’s bottom was painted and very smart, the rudder damage mended and the rope cutter fitted. I polished the hull, we stashed everything away and she was ready to be launched.

The new rope cutter

We had been worried about the trip south, in particular getting around Cape Hatteras which is a notorious spot. The Gulf Stream, which keeps us warm in the UK travels close by this point and can make for a very unpleasant and dangerous coast. We had kept our options open and could, in theory use the ICW (Inter coastal waterway,) but our mast height was always going to make this a stressful option at every bridge, and there are many bridges.

As it happened we were extremely lucky and got an excellent weather window which allowed us to sail around Cape Hatteras to Florida in 5 days and we are now enjoying some warm sunshine.

Double thermals time setting off down the Chesapeake
Our cockpit tent which does an excellent job of keeping us warmer at night
There was a little group of boats rounding Cape Hatteras with us

Good fishing but a bit gory!

Florida, the sunshine state, definitely feels different. St Augustine, where we are now, is American’s oldest city and according to our taxi driver the Christmas lights are in the top ten. We have learnt all US cities claim something special and as you can imagine the Christmas lights will ensure climate change remains an issue forever!

As is also usual there is a history lesson. St Augustine was founded in 1513 by Ponce de Leon and claimed by the Spanish and it really has a very Spanish feel with red tiled roofs, and narrow cobbled streets. The sad thing is that the cars (which are huge) and car parks intermingle with the pedestrians and little streets. There is much to be said for traffic free city centres. I won’t bore with the detail but there were many wars between the Spanish and English over the centuries.

No shortage of lights
Hotel Ponce de Leon

We are now waiting for a weather window to go south again and hope to visit the rockets at Cape Canaveral before crossing to the Bahamas.

Just as an aside, when we were in London we visited the Greenwich Observatory to check all was well. You can’t but help be a little proud when you hear the US coast guard give times in GMT. Given we rely on Lat and Long for all our navigation this was a fascinating trip.

Harrison’s Chronometer at Greenwich – Glad we do not have to carry this time machine on A Capella
Zero longitude and a fabulous view of the city

6 thoughts on “Hot foot to the south”

  1. Dear Patricia and Julian, I am delighted that you got a weather window for rounding Cape Hatteras. You were entitled to a bit of luck after you were directed by your insurance to stay north of Cape Hatteras to avoid hurricanes, but the hurricanes were not informed to stay south of Hatteras.
    Have a great Christmas in the Bahamas.
    Love,
    Peter.

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  2. Impressive fish. Informative as always. We shot the ‘new’ Christmas trees on Saturday. Very good new drive. Country life goes on at Leddon. Have fun in the warm. What temp the sea? Oliver

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  3. So glad you were fortunate at Cape H.� Photos very interesting.�� I’m up to my neck in Captain Cooks journals and it was on� his second voyage he took the chronometer� – I’m amazed at the size of it !�� Can you think of a Christmas present you would like that Angus could bring with him ?�� I’ve got final pictures of my sponsored guide dog, now fully working,� and am told you have renewed the sponsorship.�� I’m delighted at that and thank you very much for such an excellent present.�� Love�� Maureen

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  4. Wow!!! You two are very clever chickens.
    So sorry to have missed seeing you on your bust visit home…… next time I hope.
    Keep safe and lots of love from Ali xxxx

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