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.

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