Day 16, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 31MAR22, Day 16, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was another largely good weather day. It is getting warm! We did lose the wind for awhile and motored along for about half of the day. And we passed the halfway point!

Current Position: 37 04S / 022 49W
24 hour progress: 123nm, 5.1kts avg SOG, 11.5 hours of engine time. Overall progress for the passage is 2,054nm, approximately 1,553nm left to go via a great circle route to St Helena.

We spent the first 6 or so hours of day 16, sailing a starboard broad reach that moved up to a beam reach. We were making a good course under full sails with 10-15kts of wind. It was nice sailing in beautiful weather. "Champagne sailing", but we didn't open a bottle.

Gradually the winds lightened, our speeds dropped and a gray fog bank approached. The winds went down below 10kts and we decided to turn on the engine. The fog and drizzle seemed to signal the last of the good wind had passed us for awhile.

In the late afternoon we passed the halfway point and threw a little party - music, chocolate, dried fruit, silliness. We also did some haircuts and then showers. Daxton's hair was quite long and curly. He looks older with the shorter cut. Jon completely shaved his head before we departed Stanley so he got a clean up on the sides. It is the first time in years that he has had a haircut within 3 weeks of the last cut (this was also the first time he had ever shaved his head to a short fuzz).

We enjoyed fish tacos for dinner - no we did NOT fish. We had bought Patagonian Toothfish cheeks back in Stanley, successfully kept them frozen against our refrigerator plate and decided it was the night to enjoy them. (Now we will have even more pressure to fish because there isn't any in the refrigerator.)

We continued motoring until the middle of the night when the winds filled back in to 10-15kts. We began sailing close hauled on a port tack (again!). There has been a lot of windward sailing on this passage. Our course was east and we pressed on hoping to make more north to go with the east.

We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise and put 2 reefs in the main as the winds picked up to 15-20kts. We expect the wind to move to the north and then the northwest and our course to improve. (This feels very familiar!) Hopefully we won't have to wait too long, but it always seems to be longer than the forecast suggests on this trip.

We again had the door open all day and some of the evening. The stars were incredible! Daxton was the first to break out shorts and changed into them after his shower. The cats have been sunbathing and seem to be deciding that laying in beds with blankets might be too warm, though they aren't committed yet.

In yesterday's bird watching, we again had very few visitors. But there remain a handful of giant petrels and albatrosses. No other sea life has been spotted by us.

Day 15, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 30MAR22, Day 15, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Oh what a difference a day makes! Yesterday was a nice day, good sailing, some sun, some clouds. We made easy progress mostly in the right direction.

Current Position: 38 06S / 024 47W
24 hour progress: 120nm, 5kts avg SOG, 3 hours of engine time. Overall progress for the passage is 1,931nm, approximately 1,661nm left to go via a great circle route to St Helena.

Yesterday morning saw us shaking out all the reefs and trying to sail with full sails on a broad reach (port tack). The seas were a bit lumpy from the left over seas of the winds of the day before. By mid morning speeds were slow and the winds were very light. We decided to turn on the engine for a spell rather than bounce around.

We took advantage of the engine time to make some water and try to troubleshoot the Watt&Sea a little bit. Unfortunately no big break through. It is producing power when spinning, but not spinning as easily as it should. The manufacturer is being responsive and helpful. Our best guess is that a bearing for the propeller shaft is dying. Seems like service will be required.

Within a couple of hours of turning on the engine, the winds set up and filled in. We turned off the engine and set sail again on a port broad reach with full main and genoa. We sailed well and just a bit north of rhumb line. It made for a very pleasant day and nice sailing.

We had the door open all day and are enjoying the warmer temperatures. The boat is still a bit damp but it is warmer and we are shedding layers and blankets. No shorts have appeared yet, but everyone has been down to short sleeve T-shirts inside.

Night time saw our course bend to the north a bit but it seemed worth continuing to sail in the deep broad reach as long as the wind remained westerly. The skies were clear and the stars brilliant. By sunrise the wind had shifted more southerly and we decided to gybe despite dying winds. This saw us heading on rhumb line again sailing towards a rising sun. In the end, we were able to close out day 15 still sailing as the winds came back up to 10-15kts after the wind shift to the south settled in.

In yesterday's bird watching, we again had very few visitors. But there were a handful of giant petrels and albatrosses. Daxton is becoming desperate to fish. We still haven't gotten up the desire to deal with one yet though…

Day 14, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 29MAR22, Day 14, Falkland Islands to St Helena. 2 weeks at sea! Yesterday was not a nice day. Gray and lots of rain, wind and big seas with short intervals. It was a day where we did our best to avoid going outside.

Current Position: 39 54S / 025 25W
24 hour progress: 119nm, 5kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1,811nm, approximately 1,762nm left to go via a great circle route to St Helena. Week 2 stats: 855nm actually sailed in the week which knocked off about 623nm of the great circle course. We ran the engine for 7.8h.

Yesterday was another slow progress day to close out a slow progress week. We are closing in on half way there, but by great circle progress it is at least another day away. That is in line with our thoughts that the passage would be about a month so while we might like to have made better progress, it is still good progress.

We sailed the first 14 hours or so of the day with 3 reefs in the main and a full stay sail. We bounced and bashed along eastward waiting for the winds to move to the north and to settle down. We ended up waiting longer than expected for both. However, after dinner and night fall the winds did (after a last round of strong gusts), eventually, calm and turn. It was a fitting final roar as we were finally released to sail NE out of the Roaring Forties and above the 40 degree line of latitude.

And in the spirit of everything happening at once, in the very dark night, while the winds were howling and thinking about turning, we got our first AIS hit since losing contact with Kelper back on Day 1. It was a refrigerator ship headed to the Falklands to pick up some squid. He passed well north of us and was only on our AIS for about 2 hours. But it was something new and generated some interest as we would turn towards him if the winds turned. (Note: we were still going rather slow at 4kts to his 15kts and it wouldn't have been any issue, just would have made us pass closer than the significant separation that we had.) In the end, at 8nm away, we never even saw his lights in the waves and rain.

A short while later, we were able to stop bashing, roll back in the stay sail and set the genoa, gradually rolling the full genoa out and moving from a close reach to a beam reach and then eventually to a broad reach. Once the winds moved they just kept moving until they were from the west. They also gradually lightened throughout that turn.

It looks like we will spend the next few days searching for sailable wind in another high pressure area. At least highs generally mean nice weather! We will see what we get.

In yesterday's bird watching, we had very few visitors. They all seemed to disperse or head off to the higher pressure areas to get out of the very blah weather.

Day 13, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 28MAR22, Day 13, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was mostly high clouds and gray with occasional sunshine. The temperatures have risen a bit more and we had the door open for a good part of the day.

Current Position: 40 37S / 027 36W
24 hour progress: 116nm, 4.8kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1,692nm, approximately 1,860nm left to go via a great circle route to St Helena.

Yesterday was a bit of a slow progress day. We started off close reaching in light winds and calm seas. After a few hours of nice sailing, we added a 3rd reef to the main and trimmed to be as close hauled as we go (again). The winds were from the E which meant we were going N. Not exactly where we want to go, but the best we could do with the wind we had.

The plan was to wait for the winds to move to the NE/N and then tack and head E/NE. Well, we waited and waited. The first half of the day the sailing was good, easy and with good speeds. Just before dinner time we decided to roll in the genoa and switch to the stay sail. This was to make it a bit easier to get dinner going. In the end, it was also decently well timed as the winds were starting to build. The stay sail is slow but we are able to sail as close as we can get to windward and it is manageable in windy conditions and larger seas.

The overnight period indeed saw higher winds and building seas and it was very, very dark. Our speeds were slower and our course began bending to the NW rather than just being N. In the early morning hours, on a watch turn over, we decided we would tack even though the winds hadn't moved past NE. This saw us headed E with a touch of S (but overall less S than the W we were taking on the other tack). Again, we found ourselves close hauled / close reaching, now on a port tack, with 3 reefs in the main and a full stay sail. The benefit of the stay sail is that it is self tacking - ie rather than us having to do the work to release a sheet and pull in on the other sheet, the stay sail is on a track and switches sides itself on the turn. So at least the tacking is easy in the dark. Afterwards, we spent a little time re-securing things for the new heel (lean) of the boat.

We expect today will be slow amidst high winds. Things should lighten up over night and our course should improve eventually, sometime later in the day or over night. We just need the wind to finally move to the N or NW. Once we are through this weather things should get easier again. Or at least we will be back to lighter and variable wind speeds and directions.

We have continued to balance power consumption with power output and our batteries are close to fully charged. We did not manage any troubleshooting on W&S or our wind pilot steering yesterday as conditions were not conducive for that work and our power situation remained in good shape so there was no immediacy.

As we pound along into the wind and waves, the crew remains in good spirits. Books are getting read, Megan made pizzas for dinner, and the boys continue to stand watches. We've fully settled into our daily routines.

In yesterday's bird watching, we had more birds again with flocks of prions, plus albatrosses and petrels. We continue to marvel at the really big albatrosses when we see them.

Day 12, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 27MAR22, Day 12, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was mostly gray and colder. We did see a tiny bit of sun, but it was more overcast, gray and sometimes there was a little drizzle.

Current Position: 42 03S / 027 34W
24 hour progress: 130nm, 5.4kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1,576nm, approximately 1,923nm left to go via a great circle route to St Helena.

Yesterday we sailed the whole day through a variety of winds. We started the day broad reaching on a port tack with 1 reef in the main and a full genoa. We ended the day close reaching on a starboard tack with 2 reefs in the main and a full genoa. Through the day we gybed and moved from a broad reach up to a close reach on the starboard tack. This means that everything gradually shifted back again from starboard to port, as all other things being equal, the boat heels over more the closer to the wind that you sail. Not to worry we will tack again at some point and everything will slide the other way again. It keeps us all busy trying to find secure places for things and randomly having something new come loose—often making a loud noise when someone is trying to sleep. Most interesting are the small items that turn up after having disappeared over time.

We should be out of the light airs of the high for a bit, until the next one sets up. This means stronger winds for the next couple of days. We did well for course with yesterday's changing winds with either being on our desired NE course or going a bit east or north. All basically the "right" direction. The winds were largely light and remained a bit variable. So our speeds were up and down as well. But the seas stayed calm and the sailing was good.

Most of the day was spent troubleshooting our Watt&Sea hydrogenerator and contingency planning. W&S is one of our favorite, simplest to use and most dependable pieces of gear. When we are sailing well she pumps out power. This allows us to run "Nike" our electrical (hydraulic ram) Nke autopilot, the radar and the refrigerator on max cooling without a drain on power, plus all the electronics and device chargers. W&S is basically a propeller on an arm that has a generator inside. We drop the propeller arm in like a small centerboard with its pivot on our stern; as it's propeller spins it generates power that travels through an electrical cable to our charging bus.

From the indications that we had seen, it seemed like she was no longer turning at slow speeds. We decided to draw on the propeller hub so that we could maybe verify if the prop was spinning in the turbulent water behind the stern. It was clear that at 5kts boat speed the prop was not spinning. So, we pulled the arm up and worked on trying to set up our wind vane autopilot. As Nike is so reliable and steers so well, we have the Windpilot wind vane as a backup for long passages, but have never really used her much. The problem with Nike is that she does use power. So, most of yesterday was spent trying to get the Windpilot successfully steering. This is part engineering, and part art. We were not especially successful at getting her to hold course for very long despite having the boat properly trimmed. Something is just not quite right—probably the sailors. However, after a few hours of frustrating work and some lunch the boat speed was back up over 6kts again. So we decided to try W&S. It seems above 6 or 6.5kts boat speed she generates power! So we changed our tactics and have been managing the gain on Nike to limit how much power she is using balanced with wind and boat speeds. More gain for more corrections and using more power when we have boat speed, are making power and require more steering inputs. Less gain when we are slower, need less input and are not making power. So far this is working and we recharged our batteries decently overnight. The other ways that we make green power are solar and wind. Solar didn't provide much yesterday with the cloud cover and the winds were a bit light and quite variable. The wind generator prefers consistent winds above 15 or 20kts, and going downwind in 15kts was only giving the wind generator about 10kts over the blades.

Anyway, a challenge to be sure. The manufacturer seems to recommend a depot service interval on the W&S sealed generator every 2 years/20k nm which we have obviously exceeded. We feel like it maybe isn't turning quite as freely as it should out of the water as well. We have a couple of other ideas to try to further troubleshoot as conditions permit and an email out to the manufacturer. We will see how it goes. In the meantime, we are managing with what we have and will keep trying to learn and practice the art of wind vane steering as conditions permit.

In yesterday's bird watching, we had more birds again with the occasional flock packs of prions. We continue to enjoy trying to identify the different albatrosses that circle past. We seem to have a variety that visit.

Day 11, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 26MAR22, Day 11, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was another sunny, warm day though we continue to attempt to sail on the edge of a high pressure system. It is comfortable, but variable and sometimes a little frustrating.

Current Position: 43 38S / 029 25W
24 hour progress: 124nm, 5.2kts avg SOG, almost 6 hours was on engine. Overall progress for the passage is 1,446nm, approximately 2,048nm left to go via a great circle route to St Helena.

Yesterday morning we continued motoring for another almost 6 hours, for a total of an almost 8 hour motoring stretch. We made the most of the engine time in the sunny weather and calm seas with a big long swell - we made water, did dishes, took warm showers, made pancakes. We also tackled two things on our to do list that hadn't been accomplished before we left. We mentioned that our pilot house has two big curved windows. Well, every time we are sailing we say we should clean them and redo the rain-x when we are in port. It never seems to get done. It's on the list but a low priority when you aren't staring out them all day. Then when we get underway we say, we really should have done that in port… By yesterday our windows were quite salty from the ocean spray of the last 10 days. So Daxton went out, did a fresh water wash, cleaned the windows and then put the rain-x on. They are so clean! No rain yet to enjoy the water moving off of them from the rain-x but much easier to see out of without all the salt water spots. The other thing that Jon and Daxton accomplished was fitting some screening into a long narrow vent on our coach roof. There have been other Boréals that have gotten flying fish caught in this vent, then they rot and stink up the boat. We were lucky as to not have this happen to us on our previous warm water ocean passages, but we did have a flying fish that hid and stunk in our sail bag for quite a while after the 2019 crossing of the Atlantic. In any case, we picked up some screen material in the Falklands and installed it yesterday. We haven't seen any flying fish yet so we were happy to get this done before we start seeing them again.

As we motored the winds were up and down. As we only have so much fuel, we decided we probably had enough wind to sail again in the afternoon, so we secured the engine. We spent the day continuing to flirt with a high between 2 low pressure systems. There doesn't seem to be an easy way out and where it looks potentially sailable it is the edge and the weather forecasts aren't precise for where that edge will be exactly. So sometimes we have good wind and other times it is very light. It looks like we will find ourselves in this situation a few more times as the lows go across in the next week. We sailed close hauled and then have gradually been able to fall off to a broad reach. Our course has been good even if our speed has been inconsistent. We aren't really complaining, life is going quite well on board.

The bad news of the day was that we have a very distraught teenager. Ronan accidentally left his phone on and killed the battery. After recharging, it rebooted and, apparently, the new iOS has a "feature" that says you have to verify 3rd party apps after a restart. Well, that is impossible without internet! So, he has nearly bricked his phone until we can get him connected enough to fix the issue. He's a bit frustrated. We are also a bit concerned about this for our iPads that we use for navigation. If we can't access the navigation apps, if the iPad were to be run out of batteries that would be bad. We do have multiple iPads with the data and some are on the old iOS but some are on the new iOS. Hmmmm. This is going to need to be investigated. Can it be turned off? Is Ronan right that, that is what happened for him? Or has he just not verified his apple account in too long? (But also that could be a problem for our navigation iPads that haven't been online since December.) After sulking a bit, mostly because he was in the middle of a book that he was enjoying, he found we have a copy of his book on a hard drive and he loaded it onto his kindle. He also still has access to music and his podcasts plus any number of physical books on the boat and on his kindle. However, both boys are still sad that their Minecraft playing together is over for at least a few weeks. (They had been playing nicely together for the last few days.) He will survive and hopefully his grumbling will lessen.

The other issue is Watt&Sea, our hydro-generator. She doesn't seem to be producing power which is bad news since she is our power generating work horse. Jon noticed last night, when our speeds were good, that our power production was lacking. He pulled up the generator arm to investigate but didn't see anything obvious in the dark. He put her back in the water and it did seem like we might have had some production again later, but it is unclear. Further investigation will be today's project.

We still have a few petrels and albatrosses around and even some larger prions again. We had a beautiful, large albatross for quite awhile yesterday. We believe he was a red-nosed - big wingspan and interesting face. We also had a sooty albatross. Daxton works hard to try to identify the different kinds (which is challenging when it largely depends on what their face or beak looks like) and gets excited when he confirms we have seen a certain type, especially if we haven't seen very many of that type.

Day 10, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 25MAR22, Day 10, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was another sunny day with near perfect sailing conditions. Light winds, easy swell, some fast sailing. Sweet!

Current Position: 44 52S / 031 39W
24 hour progress: 130nm, 5.4kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1,322nm, approximately 2,167nm left to go via a great circle route to St Helena. 1/3 of the way!

Yesterday we kept on sailing as close hauled as we go. We sailed the first 22 hours of the day with 1 reef in the main and a full genoa. Yep, 3 full days of sailing heeled over, pounding into the waves. Whew! At least it wasn't always bashing into waves as the beginning and end of the 3 day period had very gentle seas. Speeds and course varied quite a bit, but we never touched the sails and just kept sailing at an apparent wind angle of 50 degrees.

Sometimes we were making over 7.5kts, in fact the average for our first 6 hours was 7kts. However, by evening the winds had calmed and speeds had fallen off. We were still sometimes making 6kts or more but sometimes we were making 2kts. Our track around the edge of the high pressure system looks like a wandering brook on the plotter. After sunrise, the winds fell to almost nothing. We persevered until all steerage was lost and then the engine came on for the last 2 hours of our day 10.

It was a great day of sailing, even if it isn't our favorite point of sail. And the weather gave us nothing to complain about either. Unfortunately, we didn't quite squeak around the high under sail, but so it goes.

The exciting exercise of the day was determining what location should be tagged on our devices as we shifted our working time zone aboard Zephyros to UTC -0200 hrs. We settled on using Grytviken, South Georgia, UK. St Helena operates on UTC, so we will be moving the clocks twice more on this passage.

Hopefully, we will find the other side of this high pressure system earlier vice later in the day so we can shut off the noisy engine and get back to silently sailing. In the meantime, the sun is out, the sky is blue, the ocean swell is gentle, and we're moving in the right direction. And we have a tank of hot water again.

We didn't see many birds yesterday, but there are still a hand full around—mostly albatrosses.

Day 9, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 24MAR22, Day 9, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was a very sunny day. The pilot house turned into a bit of a sauna. The rest of the boat has remained a bit chilled. The water temperature has decreased which means we are back in warm layers for the night. We enjoyed another good sunset and amazing sunrise. The moon is waning and the skies were less clear last night but we still had some moonlight to keep the night from being too dark.

Current Position: 44 17S / 034 20W
24 hour progress: 120nm, 5kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1,192nm, approximately 2,228nm to go on the great circle route to St Helena.

Yesterday we continued sailing as close hauled as we go. It was another slow day. The first half was with 3 reefs in the main and a full stay sail. After dinner the winds and seas had settled enough that the stay sail was rolled back in and the full genoa came out. Overnight the winds and seas calmed further allowing us to shake out 2 of the reefs in the main, leaving just 1 reef. The last few hours of the day saw us making better speed and sailing fairly comfortably as the seas have an easy swell. Our course remains easterly with a touch of south. The wind has largely remained from the NE so we continued to sail as close as we can.

Our pilot house has two large, wrap around windows that make for excellent visibility, but also make the space a bit of a greenhouse / sunroom when the skies are clear. If the boat is humid, it can be like a sauna. This sun heated space can be welcome or just too much depending on other factors. Ideally, we would crack the overhead hatch or leave the watertight entry door open to vent the space when it gets too warm. However, it's still not exactly warm outside meaning the door only gets left open long enough to purge some air or some midday hours. Opening the overhead hatch while sailing close hauled risks taking a bucket of water into your lap and the desk if a wave breaks up and over the deck. It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens.

Megan caught just such a precisely targeted, hatch invading wave while cooking yesterday. She had the galley hatch cracked open to vent the steam from the pasta she was boiling when a large wave crashed over the deck. The initial wave didn't throw too much in, but knowing what was coming she reflexively reached up to close the hatch. There was no chance of being fast enough, and the cold sea water then flowing off the deck poured down her neck and puddled around her. It was one of those moments and is the known risk of venting that hatch. Megan took it in stride, we mopped up the water and dinner was served soon there after. Boat life.

Not too much else to report. We continue to move along. The weather looks pretty good for the next few days. Mostly light air. So we will see if we can continue sailing or if we need to turn on the engine at some point. Or if we find more air than forecasted.

In our bird update, we were down to only the occasional fly by yesterday. And no other wildlife has been spotted by us. Our friends on Kelper saw seals yesterday though! We are about 180nm apart, and had no such sightings. Impressive to know that they are so far from land. Makes you wonder what sea life is all around under the sea when it seems so empty above the sea…

Day 8, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 23MAR22, Day 8, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was a mix of high cloud cover and then a sunny afternoon. The winds and waves gradually built over the day. The boat is slowly warming up and we are (slowly) shedding layers. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and amazing sunrise.

Current Position: 43 59S / 037 04W
24 hour progress: 116nm, 4.8kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1072nm, approximately 2,310nm to go on the great circle route to St Helena.

We started yesterday sailing as close hauled as we go in open seas without pinching, about 50 degrees to the apparent wind. We started with 1 reef in the main and a full genoa. In the afternoon the winds built and we gradually reefed down. By dinner time we were sailing with 3 reefs in the main and a full stay sail. This is generally a slow configuration, but the course was better than being faster and sailing less into the wind. That said, this is not a very comfortable point of sail no matter the speed. Especially as the waves build and the boat bashes into them.

We had optimistically hoped we would be closer to a beam reach than we ended up. The weather forecasts had predicted the wind to be more northerly than we have seen. So, because we don't want to run off too far south, we are staying close hauled so as to not lose too much northerly progress. It's all a compromise.

Nonetheless as the seas had been calm before starting this point of sail, it was comfortable enough to still give Megan a bit of a relaxed day. She enjoyed a nice bit of down time with her book. She also enjoyed her birthday wishes via email - thank you for your thoughts and well wishes!

Jon managed to make a lovely roast pork loin and pineapple dinner with some salad and broccoli. During plating, the roasting pan decided to fly behind the oven with the cooked dinner in it. He felt horrible, but there really wasn't a problem as it was all washed off a bit and perfectly edible. Delicious actually! Life on a boat!

In our bird update, the number of birds continued to decrease. There were very few yesterday. Though we did see a couple of prion flocks plus some petrels and albatrosses. And it looked like 2 skuas came by, one of which sure looked like they were considering landing on Zephyros before deciding to move on. But do skuas fly this far from land? Maybe when they migrate north from Antarctica or South Georgia (which we have been directly north of)?

Day 7, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 22MAR22, Day 7, Falkland Islands to St Helena. A full week at sea completed. Yesterday was a nice, easy day. The winds calmed to almost nothing and the engine came on. The weather was overcast and then became sunny. We warmed up and dried out the boat a good bit with the engine heater running.

Current Position: 43 31S / 039 37W
24 hour progress: 123nm, 5.1kts avg SOG, 17.2h of engine time. Approximately 2,384nm to go on the great circle route to St Helena. Week 1 stats: with 956nm actually sailed, we have knocked off about 865nm of the great circle course and run the engine for 19.8h.

We started yesterday continuing to sail in light winds. When the winds fell below 10kts and our speed dropped below 3kts, the engine came on. While we don't enjoy the noise, we did enjoy the relatively flat boat, took showers and did some house keeping chores.

We had been watching this hole in the wind since departing. We were hoping that it would line up with the 22nd as that is Megan's birthday. Alas it arrived on the 21st (which always seemed the most likely). So, we had a bit of an early birthday celebration. Daxton made some chocolate, coffee treats. We had a nice lunch and delicious dinner - shrimp, garlic, broccoli and pasta. The boys stood their watches and Megan got reading time and 4+ hours of uninterrupted sleep.

We motored through the night and in the morning we were able to roll out the genoa again and secure the engine. We are closing out day 7, close reaching, on a port tack, 1 reef in the main and full genoa in light winds and calm seas with an easterly course. After 5 days of a starboard tack everything will now be shifting from port to starboard.

We expect the next sailing to be more towards Tristán da Cunha and not directly along the great circle. We will see how the winds and seas develop. We hope to be able to sail east without (much) south, though we expect to need to take the south for comfort as winds and seas increase again. We expect we will be sailing to windward for a while.

In our bird update, the number of birds continues to decrease. There are still some birds - prions, petrels and albatrosses - and even occasional large packs of prions. Our resident bird expert and fishing enthusiast (ie Daxton) will surely be worried that the fishing is no longer good if / when the birds are gone. Though maybe that makes it easier to avoid putting in the line?

Day 6, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 21MAR22, Day 6, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was a better day. We enjoyed some nicer weather and things gradually calmed. While the winds remained quite variable (frustrating at times), our ride smoothed out over night improving our speed in the now lighter winds. We are hopeful for another good day.

Current Position: 44 31S / 042 03W
24 hour progress: 129nm, 5.4kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 833nm, approximately 2,505nm to go on the great circle route to St Helena. (For those following along that's 127nm directly towards St Helena yesterday, which is pretty great for 129nm sailed.)

We continued reaching. We adjusted between a beam reach to a broad reach and back again as needed to keep our course close to the rhumb line. We left the 4th reef in until the mid-afternoon and adjusted the genoa semi-regularly. As the winds continued to be variable we let out genoa and often rolled it back in some again. The waves continued to be decently sized with the occasional ones kicking us around a bit. But slowly, overall, the winds gradually decreased and the seas settled. We also made some fresh water.

Even though it was a better day, it was a busy day. We found it a bit too inconsistent to have the boys stand their watches alone. Though meal preparation and cooking remained challenging, we were determined to enjoy some fresh food. Jon managed to prep a big bowl of guacamole to attend to some tomatoes and peppers, as well as avocados, that needed eating. Megan boiled eggs early in the day, then roasted potatoes and cooked up some British sausages for the evening meal. So in the end we were all well and well fed, even if doing anything and everything in the galley remained daunting.

In our bird update, the number of prions significantly decreased yesterday. We have no idea why. There were still quite a few birds - prions, petrels and albatrosses - to watch and entertain us. We also saw a type of gray albatross with which we were unfamiliar. Looking for gold in everything around us, we enjoyed some more rainbows as we continued to pass through and around isolated patches of rain.

Day 5, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 20MAR22, Day 5, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was a difficult one. Winds were higher than expected; seas were quite large. There was a good bit of rain, and then the skies largely cleared, with a beautiful large rainbow, for some sun in the afternoon and bright moonlight throughout the night.

Current Position: 45 39S / 044 35W
24 hour progress: 146nm, 6.1kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 704nm, approximately 2,632nm to go on the great circle route to St Helena.

When we left you yesterday, Jon was just retiring to the pilot house to motor in dead air as ice marbles fell on deck. By now there was an inch or more of marbles stacked up on our side decks. Since Jon was now inside, it stopped hailing and began raining. A few minutes later someone in the cosmos realized that the breaker for the wind had tripped and kindly closed the breaker instantly delivering 30kts of steady wind. Jon dutifully reset the sails as sheets of ice slid off the solar panels overhead and shot off into the sea. He then turned off the engine—it was only on for 20 minutes total. Everything settled, Megan rose from the bunk with a yawn for watch turnover. The Roaring Forties then coughed a little and began to really roar. As Jon headed outside to put another reef in the main sail, a strong gust and nasty wave knocked us round. Quickly sorted again, we set the 3rd and the 4th reef as the wind kept ramping up. Then we rolled back in the genoa until there was just a handkerchief out. And so we were an hour into the new day; that is we were riding a bucking sled across a lumpy ocean. At least we were going down wind still.

It is an impressive 90 degree turn on the tracker. You would be forgiven for thinking that we changed point of sail or tack. We did not. We were still sailing a broad reach on starboard tack - the wind made a 90 degree turn and ramped up considerably. So we spent the day reefed down, running off, headed north and surfing waves. So much for that thought of relaxedly settling into the passage. We sailed hard and felt a bit beat up.

We did have a lull in wind - just as quickly as the wind had turned on in the morning, about 10 hours later it nearly turned off for a short while. Megan scurried to start making food for the hungry masses. Leftovers were destroyed on mid-rats (midnight rations) - in this case a hungry teenager scouring around for more food. Guess Ronan is feeling better and his stomach was undaunted by the challenges of the day. We are hoping for a quieter day and easier cooking.

We sailed day 5 reefed down to the 4th reef in the main and for about half of the 24 hours with just a small bit of the genoa out. We feel like a small bit of genoa sails better downwind then a bit of our staysail. It holds a better shape for sailing a deep broad reach. The winds and seas did settle eventually but we still had periods when the winds stayed high and now had the bonus of them going really light for awhile (when you slow down it gets very rolly in the left over seas). Overnight, we largely went for the less taxing sailing to the middle of the winds with a still fully reefed main and 2 reefs in the genoa. We will see how much energy we have today to adjust sails based on whatever the wind serves us.

The number of prions seems to be geometrically multiplying. There were lots and lots of them yesterday. They are not as graceful as the petrels and albatrosses that we still occasionally see. The prions are like little fighter jets doing aerial tricks. They seem to be grabbing small fish or squid from the surface, but they don't land or dive into the water. Just quickly touch and go. They are entertaining and definitely undaunted by the roaring forties.

Day 4, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 19MAR22, Day 4, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was scattered rain and some sun by the late afternoon. It is still cold and damp, but slowly getting a bit better. Still hoping for a proper sunny day.

Current Position: 47 34S / 046 17W
24 hour progress: 128nm, 5.3kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 560nm, approximately 2750nm to go on the great circle route to St Helena.

It was pretty much a calm and slower day. We very nearly avoided motoring and relaxed into sailing. We spent most of the day on a broad reach with 2 reefs in the main and a full genoa. The winds were variable, mostly around 20kts but they gusted up close to 30 and fell down to 10 every now and again. We sailed the middle and the gusts got us going fast but safely, and the lulls saw us slow down but not too much.

We all are relaxing into passage mode. We made meals and all hung out together. The boys stood watches. We practiced maritime signal flags - A - Z. Megan has a deck of flash cards that has all the International and US Navy code flags, a remnant of the boat school. So we are quizzing each other. Maybe we will try to tackle the numbers and the other flags and pennants. Right now the letters seem enough. They have the semaphore and Morse code on the cards too. So we could go that direction. Or maybe we will all lose interest.

Being a calmer day than the day prior and only a day after St Patrick's Day, Megan cooked up a fine Irish meal of potato soup with fresh cabbage and plentiful Canadian bacon—sometimes we have to improvise. This was the first large meal of the passage with everyone now ready to eat, and the big pot of soup was quickly reduced to a small bit of leftovers.

It feels like the rhythm of passage making is here and the days will start to blend into each other. Everyone is feeling decently rested, well fed and spirits are high.

There continue to be birds - albatrosses, petrels and lots of prions. Daxton believes this is a sign that there must be good fishing. The parents are trying to keep him at bay as we don't quite feel ready to deal with a fish and the refrigerator is still full to the point of overflowing.

It would really have been a very quiet 24 hours if it weren't for the last 10 or 15 minutes of the period that ended at 0730a this morning. Jon was on watch while everyone else was still sound asleep. The wind had been slowly dying through the early hours, but it finally just went completely dead and all forward momentum was lost. Steerage was lost as we bobbed in the gentle swell. No problem, but time to turn on the engine. No sooner was the engine started than the hail began to fall. At first it was pea sized. Within a minute, it was marble sized and quickly piling up on the deck. The snare drum pounding on our aluminum deck was impressive even when heard from outside. It was unclear whether the crew was somehow still sleeping through the racket or all just burying their heads deep under their blankets. No matter. Amidst this hail, Jon went outside and put the boat on course, cleared the preventer, centered the main, and furled the genoa. At about 0730a, he retired to the pilot house to shelter from the fine weather and make entries in the ship's log as the marbles continued to bounce on deck. It wasn't fun out there getting pummeled with ice, but it got more exciting soon thereafter….see you tomorrow for the rest of this tale.

Day 3, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 18MAR22, Day 3, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was rainy and gray - and cold and damp. The weather did clear during the night so that we had some occasional moonlight and then a moon spotlight behind us towards the end of the night. Hoping for sun today but we shall see.

Current Position: 47 59S / 049 13W
24 hour progress: 143nm, 6.0kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 430nm, approximately 2865nm to go on the great circle route to St Helena.

It was a rough end to the day. For a few afternoon / evening hours we were pummeled by strong winds and waves that were significantly greater than forecast. It was tough. Eventually things calmed down allowing for better sleep and better sailing. We are currently sailing a broad reach in light winds which means we are rolling around a bit (and the engine may not be far away). We spent most of the last day on a reach to a broad reach. We were able to keep the wind aft of the beam even in the stronger stuff which helps for comfort. We put the 4th reef in the main and were only sailing a handkerchief of genoa in the strongest winds. We are back to a full genoa and full main now after a nice sunrise.

It was too rough and variable for the boys to stand watch yesterday. They seem to have their sea legs now so they will be added to the watch bill and school will resume as conditions permit. It was also too rough to make much for dinner so we expect everyone will be eating well for day 4 and hopeful that conditions will allow some proper meals.

Computer is charged up from the inverter! And there continue to be birds - albatrosses, petrels and lots of prions - all flying aerial tricks around us, undaunted by any bad weather.

Day 2, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 17MAR22, Day 2, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was sunny all day. It warmed up the pilot house almost too well and we vented out the door a couple of times. We had thought about opening the pilot house roof but a couple of large waves rolling across the deck convinced us the door was a safer, drier option. We had another nice sunset and the brilliant moon off of our bow right after sunset kept us company again.

Current Position: 49 22S / 051 34W
24 hour progress: 130nm, 5.4kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 287nm, approximately 2986nm to go on the great circle route to St Helena.

We are sailing a beam reach and making nice average speeds - other than when the wind died as it shifted last night. The main has 3 reefs in and we are sailing the full genoa. The winds and seas have calmed quite a bit.

Yesterday saw a couple of random milestones. Zephyros ticked through 26,000nm on her GPS odometer at 1:37pm. We also passed north of 50deg South just before 7:30pm. We are now in the Roaring Forties. Theoretically, it should be a little calmer than the Screaming Fifties, but we'll reserve judgement until we've transited them in open ocean. It isn't exactly warm yet, but significantly warmer than the Antarctic waters and those of the Southern Ocean.

We changed from a port tack to a starboard tack around midnight. We followed the wind around and tacked. It was a bit of a messy affair as we only had about 10kts of wind. We ended up turning on the engine briefly to force the turn since Zephyros didn't have enough speed to make the turn after we pulled in sails to control the gybe. Once we were all sorted the engine was back off and we were slowly sailing again in light winds.

As the winds have filled back in we are staying on a beam reach and heading north of rhumb line. This should allow us to stay in the winds and fall off a bit to head towards Tristán da Cunha. At least that's the plan from looking at the weather forecasts.

All is well on board. We are leaning the other way now with things repositioning themselves from starboard to port. We are continuing to settle in. Daxton stood some watch last night. Everyone seems to be finding their sea legs. There continue to be lots of birds - albatrosses, petrels and prions. Daxton is our bird expert and enjoys identifying them and learning about them.

We do seem to have a small, annoying problem with our inverter that we will be trying to figure out. It started not turning on at the switch before we arrived to Stanley. We had a gentleman come over to look at it and update the firmware, but we couldn't figure out what was wrong and he found that others have reported a similar undiagnosed issue. At that point we had been able to cycle power at the box and it would come back on at the normal switch. That seems to have stopped working consistently now. We did have it on to recharge the computer for a short period. We will see if we can get it working again. In the meantime it is an annoyance and a challenge to be solved with under slept brains. If we can't charge the computer we can manage without it. We have iPads that we can use for the necessary tasks underway and those charge on 12v chargers. There are only a limited number of things that we turn the inverter on to do and we can manage comfortably without them. In the meantime it is a puzzle to consider.

Day 1, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 16MAR22, Day 1, Falkland Islands to St Helena. After a whirlwind 3 weeks in Stanley, we got underway from the public jetty at 0730 local on Tuesday, 15 March. It was a bit of a drizzly, dreary gray day to start. Later the skies cleared with the sun out. We had a lovely sunset and a brilliant moon that rose right around sunset and kept us company through most of the night watches.

Current Position: 50 27S / 054 18W
24 hour progress: 157nm, 6.5kts avg SOG, approximately 3110nm to go on the great circle route to St Helena. 2 hours on the engine before securing to sail.
Note: We don't expect to be able to sail the great circle route, but will use it as a benchmark for our progress. Generally the plan is to get a bit north first to be off of the shelf around the Falklands, sail the great circle towards Tristán da Cunha and then turn north to St Helena. That is the "normal" route for typical seasonal winds so you balance that route with actual weather forecasts and comfort.

Yesterday we were up early and ready to go. We accomplished quite a lot and spent lots of money in Stanley. It was a great stop and we made many new friends. However, it was also feeling like time to get moving north. We had to wait for some weather to pass and then there was a group of us all checking out to get going in various directions.

There were 3 boats on the Public jetty and a cruise ship had come in over night that wanted us off of the jetty for their use. We started maneuvers with one boat heading off to a different pier and us and Vinson of Antarctica departing. We have been moored alongside of them for most of the past 2 weeks. They are headed back to Puerto Williams, Chile to do some sail training. We said our "see you laters", sent our well wishes back to Puerto Williams and were all on our way.

We motored through the narrows and out of Port William (the outer harbor). We raised the main before crossing the reporting line to the 3rd reef in hopes that the wind would be behind us. As we got into open sea the waves picked up, the winds filled in, we set sail and secured the engine. We found ourselves on a close reach with about 15kts of wind so we raised more main.

Our Falkland friends on SV Kelper, who we are loosely sailing with as we are both going to Saint Helena, left from their local mooring a bit earlier than us. As we left land behind, we found ourselves about 3nm or so behind Kelper. We checked in via radio as we all set about finding our sea legs and getting comfortable.

The seas have been a bit large and sometimes lumpy, but all in all they have been ok and about as expected. Winds have largely been 20-30kts with the occasional higher gusts. We've been sailing a close reach to a broad reach back to a beam reach. Currently on a beam reach with the wind just aft of the beam with 3 reefs in the main and 1 in the genoa.

We are trying to settle into the passage. We have to get our heads around this being a marathon of a passage rather than a sprint like the Drake is. We started off pushing a bit and then settled into a bit more reefed down posture sailing more for comfort. We shall see how we get on with this changing mindset.

The boys and Poseidon have all been sick. The parents have been fine. Athena is out and about, even hanging out in laps for the night watches. It's been a long time since she has done that. It will take us a couple of days but we should all settle in soon enough. And the sailing should get easier as we get north of the 50s and then the 40s.

Lots of birds flying about to keep us company, and there were some dolphins to see us off from land. We left with lots of frozen meat so no fishing line out yet. We will wait for the sea conditions to be calmer and for some food to be eaten from the refrigerator before we throw the line in. No one wants to clean a fish right now; however, we are all looking forward to a freshly caught fish in the near future.