It was a windy night at Ocean Marine Yacht Center. At 10:30 last night, Rally Control received a call from Delphinus, a catamaran headed to Marsh Harbor with the ARC Bahamas fleet.

"It's pretty bouncy down here on the outside of A dock," said a concerned Pete Davenport. "Lucky Strike, the trimaran, is getting knocked around pretty good. Every so often a bigger wave comes along and her inside hull comes out of the water. I'm afraid it's going to hit on the dock."

Despite the time, we quickly rang up Lucky Strike's skipper, and within a few minutes the crews were working together on the dock to get the boats secured for the night. In the end, all was well, and as the wind shifted to the west overnight, the water calmed down a bit. The height of the gale seemed to arrive last night around midnight. Even the old bed and breakfast the rally staff has been occupying for the week was shaking in the gusts, which were topping 50 knots offshore. 

"The boat was heeling pretty good overnight," said Dennis on Sojourner. "Otherwise it was okay. Glad to be in the marina!"

The official announcement to delay came at 0730 this morning via email. We received the morning outlook from WRI, and despite our insistence on waiting until 0900 to make the final call, the report from WRI made the decision easy, and we decided to inform the fleet as early as possible. 

CONCLUSION: LATEST OBSERVATIONS SHOW WIDESPREAD GALE FORCE W-NW WINDS, NOT ONLY COVERING COASTAL VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA, BUT EXTENDING SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES OFFSHORE, A BYPRODUCT OF THE SIGNIFICANT DEEPENING AND MASSIVE COVERAGE OF THE AFOREMENTIONED STORM THAT IS ALREADY IN PLACE.

That was this morning’s initial WRI report. Easy call. It continued:

REPORTS ALONG THE VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA COASTS AND IN ADJACENT WATERS WEST OF 75W FOR EXAMPLE SHOW W-NW WINDS GUSTING 35-40KTS EARLY THIS MORNING AND A SHIP REPORT OVER THE PAST 1-2 HOURS JUST EAST OF OREGON INLET EVEN REPORTS NNW SUSTAINED WINDS OF 48KTS. FURTHER, OFFSHORE SHIP AND BUOY OBSERVATIONS OFFSHORE FROM THE NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA COASTS, INCLUDING THE GULFSTREAM, SHOW N-NE SWELLS GENERALLY AS HIGH AS 15-20FT.

It’s weather reports like these that we like at Rally Control. No ambiguity, no pause to think about whether we made the correct call or not. This was an easy one, and the speed of the system means it should be well offshore to our NE tomorrow morning, and the long-range weather looks good.

Jamie Wendell from Mystic Shadow enjoying the marina's free coffee this morning.

The delay will allow much needed time for a few boats to finish up last minute preparations. Alchemy, a classic Tartan 41, has been undergoing a chainplate refit over the past few days. Though they could have made the start today, they’re thankful for the extra time to finish off the repair. Likewise for Emerald. All should be ready for tomorrow’s planned departure at noon.

For the yachts ready to head to sea, it’ll be a day of watching football or catching the matinee movie feature this afternoon at the Commodore Theatre in town. It’s only 50º on the docks, so I’m sure folks will be happy to stay inside!

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