Heavy wind-driven rain continues to be the primary feature of Hampton’s weather today. As predicted, Sandy has moved to the north of us and is now beginning her final approach to landfall on the coast of New Jersey. The amount of moisture associated with this storm is incredible. It has been raining incessantly in Hampton for 48 hours and additional rainfall is predicted for the next 24 to 36 hours. Within a few hours, Cutter Loose will no longer enjoy the protective lee of the nearby Crowne Plaza Hotel as the wind shifts to the west later this afternoon, then to the southwest after midnight. As this point, the dock lines on our starboard side will be placed into service, providing a much needed reprieve to the port dock lines which have been doing the heavy lifting since we arrived at our slip last Friday. Winds are gusting to 35 knots this afternoon. Since Cutter Loose is exposed to the west and southwest, all indications are that it will be a bumpy ride in our slip tonight.
As a practical matter, Sandy is making life difficult for 15 of the registered Caribbean 1500 boats that have not yet arrived in Hampton. Eight of the fifteen boats are hunkered down in various harbors on the Chesapeake Bay. One vessel is riding out the storm on the Hudson River. The remaining boats have not communicated their current position to the rally sponsor. It will be interesting to see whether these boats arrive in Hampton in time for the November 4th departure. We are now beginning to look beyond Sandy for weather patterns that will affect our departure. Currently, the long-range forecast calls for light winds on November 4th.
After morning shopping trips to the grocery store, West Marine and Lowes, we attend an afternoon provisioning seminar in the Crowne Plaza ballroom. Julie Palm, a veteran of the Caribbean 1500, offered suggestions for purchasing, preparing and storing food for an offshore voyage.
This evening’s entertainment is a reception at the Hampton Auction House. This unique downtown facility is used primarily for antique auctions. But tonight there is a band, libations, an outstanding catered seafood dinner and a hearty welcome from City officials. The Auction House is an outstanding venue for this social gathering.
During the reception, we have the opportunity to enjoy a conversation with Steve Black who founded the Caribbean 1500 in 1990. Steve has since transferred management responsibility for the Caribbean 1500 to the World Cruising Club in order to pursue his love of singlehanded transatlantic crossings. We enjoy reminiscing with Steve about the 1995 Caribbean 1500, when I sailed as a crew member aboard Relationship, an Island Packet 40 owned by friends Chuck and Jeanne Berrington. It was during this voyage that I discovered the joy of offshore sailing.
Tonight’s event is yet another enjoyable reminder of how the Caribbean 1500 builds friendships and a sense of camaraderie that extend well beyond the rally itself. We are pleased to be a part of the 2013 Caribbean 1500, the fulfillment of nearly two decades of dreaming and planning.