Day 9, Ascension Island to Grenada

1300Z 31MAY22, Day 9, Ascension Island to Grenada. 1/3rd of the way there! The days are blending together and we have all settled into passage making.

Current Position: 01 23S / 030 37W
24 hour progress: 112nm, 4.7kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1085nm, approximately 2023nm to Grenada. We have been sailing a reach since yesterday.

We honored Memorial Day yesterday being grateful for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We also had a Zephyros underway version of a BBQ / picnic with some BBQ beef sandwiches and potato chips. Summer has definitely arrived, even if our equator crossing is still a day or two away.

We really wanted to have some fish and we had 2 good sized dorado swimming next to us for awhile. We just couldn't coax them to our lures. We tried 3 different types of lures, but they just stayed up next to us, in the shade of Zephyros and ignored them. Apparently they were not hungry and didn't want to feed us; fair enough.

As we were sailing and trimming further into the wind, Zephyros didn't really want to sail as efficiently on the asymmetric. Additionally, the winds had started to build a little which makes the asymmetric a bit squirrelly unless going deep downwind. So we decided to switch back to the genoa as it is really the more appropriate sail in these conditions. We also shook out another reef in the main bringing us to 1 reef. The sailing was comfortable, but still seemed a bit slow for the winds. We were likely still being set by some current.

Overnight the winds were up and down and more shifty, swinging 10-20 degrees at a time. We finessed the course and the trim throughout the night. Our boat speeds remained lower than we would have expected without an adverse current, but we were moving in the right direction.

The clouds and rain returned early this morning. They saw us through sunrise and into daybreak. This meant the winds continued to gust and shift. Then there was a serious squall that charged over us, drenching everything, including Jon, who got a morning shower when he ran outside to loosen sheets and reef the genoa. The winds gusted and the rain poured for a couple of minutes, then we were back to sunshine and steady winds. We quickly rolled the genoa back out, and the sun has remained with us since.

We have and will continue to alter our course a bit to the north. The weather forecasts show the ITCZ opening up again to a wide swath of dead air. So we will try to make a run across the doldrums before they get too big and hope to catch the NE trades on the other side. We expect we will not make it across entirely under sail, but we will give it a go and see how little we can motor.

The sargassum weed continued to build yesterday until we began to see thin lines of the stuff, but there are just bits of it again today.

Yesterday when we were watching the fish and changing lures, a red footed booby became very interested in us. He looked like he really wanted to land on the boat, and also seemed to contemplate a swipe at the lure. He didn't do either. We kind of expected him to come for a nap on Zephyros last night, but we remained bird free again.

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