Day 4, St Helena to Ascension Island

0830Z 15MAY22, Day 4, St Helena to Ascension Island. We started off well for day 4 but the wind lightened and speeds slowed overnight. This was always expected as the forecasts before departing and along the way called for light winds on Friday and Saturday. If all we had was light winds for one night we have done ok. Time will tell if the winds will fill in for day 5 as forecast or not.

Current Position: 10 39S / 010 37W
24 hour progress: 105nm, 4.4kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 436nm, approximately 275nm to Ascension. We changed sailing configurations a bit over the day but ended up back to deep downwind with the asymmetric and 2 reefs in the main (reduces blocking of the asymmetric) just after sunset. For part of yesterday the winds were more easterly which allowed us to shake out the reefs and sail a broad reach rather than deep downwind.

Yesterday, was hot! The good news was that we had good morning sun for the solar panels, the bad news was that we felt like we were being cooked in the sun. We all figured out cooler places to sit or lay (including the cats) and continued to enjoy the relaxed sailing.

When it came time for science sampling yesterday afternoon our speeds were slowing and we had been on a broad reach with the full main. We were able to turn deep downwind and our speed went down to about 3kts due to the blocking of the chute by the main. We were able to leave up the chute, do our science and turn back up wind. Another straightforward sampling and a slow down of around 20min again.

Overnight we enjoyed another moonlit sail. The moon is nearly full now and is up almost the whole of the night. It is a bit of a surreal experience silently gliding across a flat and glistening sea under the cool light. The warm air and exacting color of the light remind you that it isn't a midsummer's night in Antarctica or skiing across moonlit snow, but it is a bit similar. Ghostly, magical, soothing and reassuring.

Today has started off with rain clouds, drizzle and light and variable winds. Hopefully we will be out of the cell line soon, the winds will fill back in and maybe a bit of sun for the panels will arrive.

We are all starting to look forward to landfall at Ascension. Our friends on Skylark should arrive this afternoon or evening so they will get to scope out the checkin process and dinghy landing. Hopefully all will go smoothly and hopefully we are about 2 days behind. We are looking forward to being there and exploring a new place.

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