Day 18, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 02APR22, Day 18, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday was a mixed bag of weather. We sailed out of the cloudless, sun-filled skies and found ourselves under cloud cover. Then came rain and some more wind. It did clear up again by the end of the day and we enjoyed another clear, starry night. We even saw the elusive green flash at sunset.

Current Position: 34 40S / 019 39W
24 hour progress: 138nm, 5.8kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 2,292nm, approximately 1,344nm left to go via a great circle route to St Helena.

We had a good mileage day and made nice progress along the rhumb line as well. Days where we have good progress towards the end point always lift spirits aboard. We expect to stay on a starboard tack for a couple of days. This tack has been voted better for sleeping and keeping things behind the seat backs secure. But it is less favorable for cooking. At least it should be a reach of some sort and we all like reaching as Zephyros moves well.

We started the day sailing close hauled. Eventually we started to fall off of the wind and sailed a beam reach for a while before going about as downwind as we go on a deep broad reach. From there our course arched northward for a while. Then in the middle of the night we gybed to head a bit east of rhumb line. Over night the winds also picked up so we set 2 reefs in the main.

The fishing line went back in the water yesterday. And in the continued spirit of everything happens at once, we entered into the area of cloud cover, it started raining, the winds picked up and shifted direction, the boat speed picked up and the fishing line tripped! It was midday, we were just starting to discuss lunch and Daxton was looking longingly at the fishing line when it pulled tight. Jon was quickly at the reel. It became clear that the fish had not been hooked, but while watching our pink squid lure we could see flashes of the fish. He kept coming for the lure as Jon dragged it just behind the boat. We watched him strike the lure 3 or 4 times before we finally successfully set the hook.

Now, we want to tell a big, extravagant story about it being a marlin and piercing our big fender or something creative as an April Fool's tale; however friends of ours on a similar passage last year spun such a yarn (they had the marlin piercing fuel jugs) only to actually catch a marlin with some drama a week or so later. So, rather than tempt the fates with a tall tale that we might conjure into happening, we will say that we simply caught a nice sized tuna that was the right size for a first fish. We enjoyed some sushi and poke bowls without much left over.

With the past couple days of slow sailing, then the cloud cover and downwind sailing of yesterday, we found ourselves needing to recharge the batteries. We ran the engine for a short while giving us an extra .5kts as we motor sailed. As luck would have it, we decided to do this when the winds also decided to pick up and not during the slower progress portion of the day. Watt&Sea seems to be becoming a little harder to start to turn and downwind sailing means less wind in the wind generator as our boat speed brings down the apparent wind. Not surprisingly, the solar panels produce best on sunny days. At any rate, we are managing, but it looks like we may have to run the engine occasionally to top up power. Fortunately, there's plenty of fuel for that. Nobody likes the noise, but no one complains about having hot water at the tap for dishes or a shower.

Bird numbers are still down. We saw just a couple of giant petrels and a large albatross yesterday. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to have been a lot of sea life for us on our closest point of approach to Tristán da Cunha (which was about 400nm).

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