Day 31, Arrival in St Helena

1000Z 15APR22, Day 31, Falkland Islands to St Helena. We are secured on a mooring in the visitor mooring field in Jamestown, St Helena. Yesterday was yet another nice weather day. It is something to be back to mid latitudes - so many nice, warm (hot) days.

Current Position: 15 56S / 005 44W
23 hour progress: 128nm, 5.6kts avg SOG, about 1 hour on the engine.

3,949 nautical miles sailed
30 days, 23 hours
5.3 knots average speed over ground
71.1 hours of engine time
1 birthday
2 whales spotted
1 small, skip jack tuna, caught, landed and eaten
Major Casualties: Watt&Sea Hydrogenerator - stopped spinning properly, replacement ordered and on its way to St Helena, propeller issue (likely needs greasing, not feathering / unfeathering properly) [The list of things needed to be fixed/maintained/completed includes more things, but these are the major issues of the passage.]

We made it! It took a 10.5 hour tack to the south, but we sailed it in for a morning arrival. Yesterday's tack south worked out nearly perfectly. We were able to shoot south in the daylight with the slightly less favorable winds (a bit more E than ESE) and current. Then, before sunset, we tacked back towards St Helena needing to make a 040T course over ground. The winds moved to the ESE and we sailed as close hauled as we go and pinched up a little more and made the course. Additionally the tack south ensured we arrived at St Helena in the daylight hours this morning. Pretty much went to plan and all that we were looking for. And we sailed it. No "cheating" with the engine.

The winds did pick up, as forecast, over night. We ended up with winds over 25kts, 3 reefs in the main while reefing the genoa in and out to manage the conditions. That was the first time in about the last week or 10 days or so since we have had that much wind. (At least that's how we remember it, might be a bit off.) It made for a busy last night as we made sail changes and prepped for landfall.

Most of the night was sailed under a bright moon-lit sky. A few short hours after the moon set, the sunrise treated us to a red sky and our first view of the silhouette of St Helena. Jon got to quietly enjoy the view for over an hour before anyone else arose.

As we approached St Helena the winds and waves picked up. We were flying along (7+ kts) and finally riding a favorable current. It is a bit stressful to be sailing fast and hard while watching land approach when you haven't seen any for a month. It made us all a bit cranky and anxious as we entered the shallower water with building waves. The wind sort of wrapped around the south end of the island which had us falling off and adjusting course. Wow, land and not sailing super close hauled!

As we passed by the southwestern end of the island the winds further accelerated and then suddenly died before later switching direction completely. We turned on the engine, rolled up the sails and made for the mooring field. We quickly scanned the other boats sitting, swaying and bobbing trying to pick a "good" mooring. St Helena is known to be a swelly place so we tried to pick well. There was another sailboat arriving about the same time as us, as well, a few minutes behind.

We scoped out a mooring, did a quick pass and looped back around. We caught the mooring as we came alongside it. It was not the easiest to loop lines through owing to its large diameter. We ended up lassoing it, bringing it to our stern, securing the lines and then walking it back to our bow. All done and dusted before 10am. Sweet.

We followed that up with bacon, eggs and champagne. We have since had a midday radio call from the Harbour Master. He will be by to check us in along with the other boat tomorrow morning. It sounds as though their COVID protocols have changed this week. So perhaps (perhaps!), with verification that we have been at sea for x number of days we will be cleared in. That is unexpected (and not a done deal yet). We were all excited for this happy news. In the meantime we have played spades, tidied up the boat a little and taken naps. Plenty more to do, but we are excited to explore a new place.

For sea life spotting, we were escorted in by boobies - masked and brown, tropic birds and noddies - blacks and browns. They all seemed so small after the albatrosses and giant petrels.

For boats, there seem to be about a dozen of us in the mooring field. We spotted teenagers! Which is exciting. New people for adults and kids. The boys aren't interested for the moment, but we will see how quickly that changes.

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