Wednesday, November 10, 2021

geese in flight / of distance and time

There was a lazy north wind today as I sailed on the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk.  The geese are in flight, snowbirds heading south on the ICW.  Eight boats were anchored in Craford Bay this morning, 12 yesterday when I motored SPARTINA from the ramp to the dock.  There may have been two dozen boats anchored there Monday waiting out the weekend's nor'easter.  A countless stream of boats passed by, sail and powered, big and small, during my two hour sail.


I have been thinking about time and distance lately.  It has been noted that I post the overall mileage for trips in statute miles and at the same time record distances in the daily logs in nautical miles.  I use statute miles for overall distances as I think people have a better concept of statute miles.  For example I can give you rough mileages to Richmond, Virginia, and Buxton, North Carolina in statute miles. I could not even begin to guess in nautical miles.  The daily mileages are in nautical miles as they are taken directly from my GPS which is set for nautical miles in both speed and distance covered.  (I will point out that mile markers on the ICW show statute miles to all the sailors who are most likely traveling with their devices set to knots and nautical miles.  Go figure.)

I used to look at each trip in average speed and distance covered for each sailing day.  With longer trips I don't think that is useful way to look at trips, particularly when using those numbers for future planning.  What I have learned on a typical four-week trip is that there will be at least a few non-sailing days either because I'm spending time in a port I enjoy or high winds/bad weather are keeping SPARTINA anchored on a well-protected creek.  This past sail I waited out the weather on creeks for a total of four days.  I think, but will have to check, I spent three days in port, two in St. Michaels and one at Tilghman Island.  

With the above in mind, I think the best way to look at longer trips is the total distance traveled divided by the total number of days of the trip from beginning to end.  So with the fall fest 544 I divide 544 statute miles by 28 days which equals just under 20 miles a day.  So that is the number - 20 statute miles/17.37 nautical miles - that I will keep in mind for future trips, the next trip being another attempt this winter to sail from Charleston to Jacksonville.  (I can't wait!)

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