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.

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