Day 7, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 03JUN23, Day 7, St Martin to the Azores. A week at sea! To wrap up the week, we had an eventful morning with hand steering, low winds, confused seas and us chasing the wind around. Now things have filled in and Zephyros is cruising along in her element.

Current Position: 28 34N / 054 46W
24 hour progress: 119nm, 5.0kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 848nm, approximately 1435nm to the Azores.

Yesterday continued as a haze gray and underway day with the layer of overcast blanketing the whole day. We went from slow close reach sailing in light winds to downwind sailing in a fresh breeze. In the early afternoon we put 2 reefs in the main as we thought maybe the winds had shifted and were starting to build. Not so fast! We ended up back to close reach sailing north of rhumb line over the kids watches. We left the reefs in as we still expected the winds to build quickly overnight.

For Jon's watch there were indeed some winds and rain cells but the wind was back to being from the south rather than the west as forecast. This meant reefs in and out of the genoa and more progress to the north of rhumb line. For Megan's early morning watch the wind continued to be finicky and there was a good bit of rain. The wind would start to turn and then drop away. So Megan found herself out hand steering in a warm rain to bring us back to close reaching north of rhumb line sailing while chasing the wind in confused seas.

About an hour later the winds died again. Back to hand steering and more chasing the wind. This time it was sunny and everyone was awake so there were other hands available. Slowly the winds filled in and we were on a broad reach with the wind from the west, making a course south of east. The seas were quite confused, lumpy and uncomfortable (ie "bouncy").

Now the winds have filled in to 25kts +/- 5kts and the seas have settled to mostly from the aft quarter at 2-3 meters. Zephyros is comfortably moving along headed east—she really loves 20-30kts of wind aft of the beam. We reefed the main down to the 4th reef so that we can head a bit deeper downwind with the genoa in clear air. We plan to gybe, probably late this afternoon, though the weather forecasts continue to be inconsistent. The one thing the models all agree on is warm temperatures. It is nice to be sailing in a little weather while still wearing shorts and not worrying about getting wet.

In the large wind and seas we had three ships all at once on the AIS. Only one was any factor and he just passed in front of us, close enough to see at 4nm.

The fishing line didn't yield anything yesterday and the parents deemed the confused seas too sporty to deal with a fish today. Apparently this is acceptable.

We have seen a new type of bird. There were quite a few of them around when we were chasing the wind. They would float on the sea nearby as well as soar around us. Our best guess is that they are some kind of petrel. Maybe the Bermuda Petrel?

Day 6, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 02JUN23, Day 6, St Martin to the Azores. The motor is back off after just over 27 hours of it droning on. We are back to sailing a close reach in light winds and slowly falling off as the wind moves around to the west from the east south east.

Current Position: 27 54N / 056 40W
24 hour progress: 132nm, 5.5kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 729nm, approximately 1540nm to the Azores. Just under 19 hours of the past 24 were on the engine.

In the afternoon heat, we took an hour break from the engine and had a lovely ocean swim in glassy calm waters. The sea had a surface layer that was surprisingly warm. There were cold spots and warm spots. You could keep your arms close to the surface and be very warm or churn the water a little and pull up the cooler water. The boys enjoyed jumping and diving in as the water was cold and then as you came back to the surface you felt it change to warmer again. The boat temperature sensor said the water was around 83°F (28°C). The surface temperature was even warmer - it all seems quite warm for the ocean.

After our swim break we showered and got underway. We did some work on the main to tune the battens and re-raised the sail. We also spotted a white thing floating in the distance. We motored over to it and practiced a man overboard to retrieve a drifting fishing marker buoy. One less piece of flotsam in the ocean.

Today is overcast as we wait for a depression to catch up with us and deliver some heavier winds. The overcast is welcome as it is cutting the overall heat. It was finally down to around 80°F (27°C) in the boat this morning. It has been up over 90°F (30°C) during the days and only sort of cools off at night. We know we will eventually miss the heat (particularly the warm water for our swims) but it has still been quite warm and we are looking forward to cooler temperatures.

This morning the winds picked up to over 5kts and the direction became more consistent. So out went the genoa and off went the iron sail. We have been slowly sailing down the rhumb line and expect the wind to strengthen and change direction to be from aft of the beam.

Last night, we enjoyed the rest of our family movie and a taco dinner without much left over. We worked on boat chores and small projects through the day that were easy to do in the calm. We continue to be frustrated by the ever changing weather forecasts. We are prepared for whatever we actually get and trust that Zephyros will take good care of us.

The fishing line is still out; still no takers. We have seen a few more tropic birds and more small flights of flying fish.

Day 5, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 01JUN23, Day 5, St Martin to the Azores. The wind completely went away. We sailed for as long as we could but once we started losing steerage and going many directions the engine came on.

Current Position: 26 35N / 058 36W
24 hour progress: 92nm, 3.8kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 597nm, approximately 1670nm to the Azores. 8.5 hours on the engine and still motoring with no sign of much wind to come.

We continued gliding along yesterday making slow speeds in light winds. We did boat chores and took outside showers. We lazed around and read books. Daxton is working through a Harry Potter movie marathon.

As the day went on, we spied a sail far off in the distance. We expected it was the sailboat we passed the previous night as this sailboat also didn't have AIS. In the afternoon he gradually got closer and passed to the stern of us. He called us on the radio and asked about weather. He was headed for the Azores and left St Martin on Friday (we left Saturday). He seemed unaware that we passed him the night before - so he could be a different sailboat or he could be the same, our guess is the same. He was motoring and curious as to how long these light airs would remain. We told him another day or two.

We continued sailing and he apparently turned off his engine around sunset as we began over taking him again. This time he had running lights on and not an anchor light. The kids kept an eye on him for their watches but he fell behind and wasn't a factor for us. We have lost sight of him again.

We had a relaxed chicken curry dinner and started a movie. It was a nice family evening. Then we paused the movie and fell into our watch schedule. We continued being able to sail through the kids watches with only occasional banging of the sails.

By Jon's watch the winds were really getting light and he did his best to keep us sailing. He hand steered and changed the point of sail to try to keep us somewhat pointed at the Azores. By the time Megan was up for turnover it really was no longer working. We pulled weather again and re-studied our options. The challenge is that a bunch of lows will be coming over so we aren't sure which direction to motor towards. We would like to get sail-able winds that aren't too strong but every forecast is different than the last and none of the models agree! In the end, we are hedging our bets and headed just a little north of rhumb line. We expect to start sailing again sometime overnight and then have some strong winds in a couple of days. The question is will we continue to have wind after that or will we find another wind hole. Time will tell.

The fishing line is still out; still no takers. We have seen a few tropic birds and more flights of flying fish. The water is completely glassy, occasionally with very light wind ripples and then back to glassy like an oil slick. It's beautiful and strange.

The afternoon agenda is a swim call, more little chores, the rest of the movie and taco night. Hopefully we will find some wind as well before morning.

Day 4, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 31MAY23, Day 4, St Martin to the Azores. More of the same with the days starting to blend together.

Current Position: 25 36N / 059 51W
24 hour progress: 120nm, 5.0kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 505nm, approximately 1760nm to the Azores.

We have been gliding along under full sails. We only made minor adjustments to course and point of sail over the past 24hours. We are still sailing a close reach on a starboard tack making a course just north of rhumb line. The winds remain light and the seas flat. We are happy that we continue to make decent speed (for us) in these light winds.

We spotted a light on the horizon to our starboard during the evening watch. It was a sailboat that we quickly passed during Megan's watch. There was no AIS broadcasting from the sailboat and it was sailing with an anchor light on. We could still see his sails at daybreak, though he quickly became a small speck on the horizon. We tried to call him around 7am but there was no answer on the radio. He's just recently fully disappeared behind us so maybe he had a bit more sail up during the daytime. We easily passed him over the night.

All is well on board. No rain at all yesterday and no cells to avoid. The night sky was beautiful with good light from the moon. Then amazing stars that filled in after the moon set. It's so peaceful to sail in these smooth conditions. We are enjoying the relaxed pace and calm ocean. It isn't expected to last, so best to enjoy it while we have it. In between watching movies, listening to music, reading, and playing games, we have been taking on small maintenance tasks.

Sargassum continues to decrease. The fishing line is still out; still no takers. The birds seem to be less and the flying fish a bit more plentiful. One flying fish hit the boat on Megan's night watch, startling her as it banged against the roof. She shined a light on him and saw him flop around a couple of times on deck before re-entering the ocean.

Day 3, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 30MAY22, Day 3, St Martin to the Azores. We had a quiet and reflective Memorial Day. We are thankful for all those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.

Current Position: 23 53N / 060 54W
24 hour progress: 130nm, 5.4kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 385nm, approximately 1865nm to the Azores.

We sailed yesterday with 1 reef in the main. Conditions were sometimes a little frustrating as we navigated around rain cells. The cells gather up the wind and sometimes the wind is from a different direction. There was a time or two when the winds dropped around a cell and sails banged around for a bit, but then the winds returned. Sometimes we made a direct course and sometimes we were more northerly.

Early in the night we had a very dark sky and put a second reef in the main while being rained on a bit. It turned out to be a small cell, though one of the first that we actually went through rather than around. The increased winds quickly dissipated, but we kept the 2nd reef in and continued to move well overnight. This morning winds were down and we shook both reefs out. We have been flying along under full sails in flat seas with 10-15kts of breeze. We expect the light winds and calm conditions to continue for a couple more days.

Everyone is adjusting well. Sea legs are established and we are starting to find our rhythms. Appetites are slowly returning and Megan prepared a wonderful dinner that rapidly disappeared. The boys each stood a full watch yesterday. Even so, we are all still a bit tired as we continue to settle in to passage life.

We've had a couple of cargo ships on the AIS but nothing close enough to see. We passed by a bucket, a short length of floating line and a piece of lumber. There are occasionally small bits of sargassum that float by, but it is minimal. The fishing line is out - still no takers despite plenty of verbal pleas from our youngest. We infrequently spot birds and flights of flying fish. The nights are starting to be a bit cooler but the days are still hot with us all hiding from the sun.

Day 2, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 29MAY22, Day 2, St Martin to the Azores. We are moving along. The winds have lightened a bit and the seas are calmer. It is nice, easy blue sky sailing. We are pretty happy with this comfortable course and speed.

Current Position: 22 01N / 062 01W
24 hour progress: 123nm, 5.1kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 255nm, approximately 1980nm to the Azores. Another 100nm off of the rhumb line. This morning we shook out a reef in the main so are down to 1 reef with around 15kts of wind - sometimes more, sometimes less. Still on a close reach. The course has varied from N to about 030.

Not a whole lot to report. We had a cargo ship pass us at about 3nm. Everything else is pretty quiet and low key. Everyone is sleeping and adjusting. The calm conditions are welcome and has everyone feeling well.

Megan had a caffeine withdrawal headache yesterday that was pretty bad by evening time but she was able to take some ibuprofen and sleep. She was then feeling much better.

Poseidon is also feeling better and moving around. He has been hanging out in the cockpit with us. Inside the boat is rather hot with the hatches closed and most of the sun covers stowed, so it's good for him to get out and feel the cooler air. He still isn't very wise about windward and leeward sides so keeps picking the high side and sliding towards the low side.

The boys are standing a little bit of watch which helps the parents get a bit more sleep. The sea legs are coming along for all.

The fishing line is out. Cedar plug now, squid yesterday - but no bites. The sargassum seems to be largely disappearing so not as much need to clear the hook (or the daggerboard or the Watt&Sea). A few masked boobies and other birds now and again but mostly just lots of blue ocean.

Day 1, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 28MAY23, Day 1, St Martin to the Azores. After almost a year break from crossing the Atlantic Ocean, it seemed time to do it again. We enjoyed a much more leisurely cruise through the Caribbean this time through, but after a year in the heat it is time to find cooler climes. We are hoping to cruise Northern high latitudes next and decided we would get there via the Azores. With the preparations complete, we set off!

Current Position: 20 05N / 062 35W
24 hour progress: 132nm, 5.5kts avg SOG, approximately 2080nm to Horta. We knocked about 100nm off of the rhumb line course with our NNE course.

It was a tough "see you later" to our wonderful friends on Paikea ( We have spent many nights as neighbors between Martinique, Antigua and St Martin. It's been excellent spending time with them again since meeting 5 years ago in Barcelona when we were both new to this family cruising stuff. They are also prepping to cross to the Azores but should be faster then us and still have some tasks remaining before they set off. See you in the Azores!

We had a few hiccups getting underway. Our windlass problems persist, but perhaps we are closer to understanding the root cause of the issue (or maybe we aren't). After a bit of work and another swapped stripper we weighed anchor at around noon local. We crawled out of the bay as we got things sorted and the boat setup. By 12:30 (16:30 UTC) the sails were set and we were sailing.

The weather routing has us going NNE so we decided to leave Anguilla to our starboard and had a downwind sail and some wing on wing time. We were soon clear and set up on a close reach, making 015-020 COG.

There were some morning rain showers as we prepped to get underway, but we haven't gotten any significant rain along our path. We've been sailing with 2 reefs in the main and went to 3 reefs briefly due to some rain on the horizon but we easily avoided it and were back at 2 reefs until sunset when we put a third reef in for the night. The winds have been 15-20kts with a bit more for the first half of the night and we put a reef in the genoa. Speeds slowed overnight (sargassum, current and lower winds all contributed). When the sun rose reefs were shaken out and the daggerboard and Watt&Sea cleared of the sargassum resulting in a welcome boost.

The crew is in good spirits. We are all happy to be on the move - even after a tough goodbye and a rough start to getting underway. Poseidon has been sick and then drooling, but is moving around for water. We all feel a bit sleepy and are trying to relax into the rhythm of the passage.

The fishing line is in, but regularly needs clearing of sargassum so it might not stay out. We saw a good number of birds - boobies and terns - yesterday. We are down to the occasional masked booby now and some flying fish. Otherwise it's blue, sunny and hot.