Day 6, Ascension Island to Grenada

1300Z 28MAY22, Day 6, Ascension Island to Grenada. The winds and seas continued to build. The rain clouds continued to roll over occasionally, sometimes dramatically. We continued to move steadily along in the correct direction.

Current Position: 04 08S / 025 27W
24 hour progress: 136nm, 5.7kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 727nm, approximately 2374nm to Grenada. We continued sailing deep downwind on a starboard tack. Before dinner we rolled in and doused the asymmetric, switching to the poled out genoa. The main remained up at the 4th reef.

Yesterday the wind and seas continued to build. The asymmetric got more unwieldy with the stronger gusts. It was manageable, but took a lot of attention and concentration as Zephyros needed to be turned deeper downwind when the gusts arrived. At one point our attention slipped and Zephyros rounded up pretty decisively, heeling us well over on the way. It was sorted back out and we were quickly back to controlled sailing again. However, we decided it was time to switch over to the genoa before cooking dinner and for overnight.

Ironically, we were discussing the switching of the sails over just prior to the round up. The sailing was manageable and fast during the day (especially in the normal conditions) so we weren't in a hurry to switch, but figured the lower stress sailing for food prep and overnight watches made sense. We commented that there was a big dark cloud approaching and who knew what it held, right before all of the excitement happened. Apparently it held gusts of 30+kts! So yeah, the adage to reef early and reef often, continues to hold true.

We had a couple more hours of nice sailing on the chute after the cell passed. Then around 5pm we got the asymmetric down, set up the pole and put out the genoa. We then took a rest in the cockpit - it's quite hot and after physical activity the place to cool off is in the shade of the cockpit. A light drizzle was falling and it felt quite refreshing. Then we all looked back to see a huge dark cloud rapidly approaching. The water was almost flat with torrential rains bouncing off the surface in an advancing wall. We all rushed inside and pulled the door shut behind us. The rain caught up to us very shortly thereafter and the winds howled. Inside it was absolutely no big deal. We were happy to be on the genoa and marveled that going 7-8kts now felt the same as going 4. Much less stressful and Zephyros kept chugging safely along without being over powered.

With the numerous squalls passing, the seas had built with 2-3m waves / swell coming from two different directions. This made the ride quite rolly and made doing anything in the galley a game of what item is currently the most important to hold on to. We often fail to get it right and some item goes flying that then needs to be cleaned up. Yesterday we lost a bunch of eggs that were on the table (to be checked as to whether or not they were still good - most were decidedly not) during the rounding up. Then in the evening, yogurt making resulted in a bowl of milk splashing everywhere and dribbling into the refrigerator and the bilge. Boat life!

We rolled our clocks back to UTC -1 hour this morning. We will have 3 more adjustments to make on our way to UTC -4 hours.

The noddy situation has gotten worse again. 8 hitchhikers last night. Lots of squawking as they vied for preferred territory. 2 were on the boom in the sailbag. 3 on the bimini and 3 on the solar panels. Morning cleanup was handled, yet again. We won't be sorry to see them go, and wonder how long we are stuck with them. Where are they going?

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