On Friday at 3 PM, the anchor is up at Fisher Island in Miami. Within 30 minutes of our departure, Cutter Loose and Dream Catcher have transited Government Cut and are headed northeast from the sea buoy towards 80 degrees west longitude, our point of intersection with the north-flowing power of the Gulf Stream. By 6 PM, we are already experiencing a boost from the Gulf Stream current.
For the next 28 hours, Cutter Loose remains nicely centered in the Gulf Stream, running north along 79 degrees – 50 minutes west longitude. Our northerly progress along the east coast of Florida exceeds our expectations. Cutter Loose is maintaining a speed over ground well in excess of 10 knots. By 8 PM on Saturday, she is positioned 60 nautical miles directly east of the Florida/Georgia border.
At 10 PM on Saturday near 31 degrees north latitude, our course continues north to Charleston as the Gulf Stream veers sharply to the northeast. Now on the fringe of the Stream, our speed over ground gradually decreases. At this juncture, the seas become confused and lumpy. Wind speed increases to 20 knots in occasional squalls. Suddenly, Cutter Loose is sailing directly downwind in six to eight foot seas with a nasty swell that seems to come from multiple directions at once. Our cruising friends aboard Dream Catcher disappear astern in the confusion.
On final approach to the Charleston sea buoy at 1 PM on Sunday, the seas subside as the flood tide whisks Cutter Loose past Fort Sumpter and into Charleston Harbor. At 2:30 PM, the anchor is down on the Ashley River near Patriot Point and the carrier USS Yorktown. We will rest here for the night until our slip becomes available at Charleston Maritime Center in the morning.
During the past 48 hours since departing Miami, 429 nautical miles have passed beneath the keel of Cutter Loose for an average speed over ground of 9 knots.
Cutter Loose and Dream Catcher remain docked at the Charleston Maritime Center for an entire week, allowing ample time to enjoy the sweet aroma of jasmine in bloom while sampling the springtime visual and culinary delights of the Holy City.
On Monday, 5/9, we will depart Charleston Harbor on the ebb, bound for Beaufort, NC.