*I didn't just make this up, people actually call them that.
About a week ago, I was looking through my pilot charts (charts that show the average wind direction, speed, currents, etc) for the voyage south. I was specifically curious about the T-pec and, after scanning a bunch of other pilot charts, I realized that it was statistically the most dangerous stretch of my voyage between Washington and Chile. I didn't expect this result and it got me thinking.
I've been sailing around in Mexico since June. It has been beautiful, relaxing, and delicious, but it hasn't been challenging, new, or mentally stimulating. At the outset of this trip, I felt constantly challenged by navigation and I was learning new skills every day. During my time in Mexico, I feel like I've slowly been stagnating.
1) It will save me time - instead of 7-8 months more sailing, I'll hopefully complete the rest of the voyage to Chile in 3-4 months.
2) It will save me money - I would've spent a lot of cash goofing off in Central America for months on end.
3) It will allow me to reach Chile before winter arrives in the Southern Hemisphere - I won't lie, I've been looking at pictures of people back home skiing pow and its slowly killing me. I can't wait to spend a winter in Chile.
4) It's a safer time of year to make each of these passages - there are fewer incidences of high winds and gales in the southern ocean before the winter months.
Most of the passages I've made thus far have only been a couple hundred miles, so these longer passages will be an interesting test. I'll need to manage food and provisioning for extended periods. I´ll need to keep the boat moving in the right direction for weeks on end, without help from anyone else. I'll likely run into some nasty weather along the way and there will be no port where I can stop and hide. These are all risks that I'm ready to accept and I'm confident that I have the proper skills, knowledge, and equipment to make the sail safely and in good style.
While I'm away from land, I'll have contact with my brother via sat-text for weather routing and he'll be able to update my location-tracking page as well. If you're interested, you'll be able to follow my progress day-by-day as I inch my way south towards the promised land.
Thus begins the next chapter in the Voyage of the Rascal. I'll give ya'll an update when I get to the Galapagos!