Day 16, Ascension Island to Grenada

1300Z 07JUN22, Day 16, Ascension Island to Grenada. The NE trade winds remained stronger than forecast pushing us steadily along towards our destination. Zephyros does love a reach in 20-25kts of wind.

Current Position: 07 54N / 040 37W
24 hour progress: 146nm, 6.1kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1955nm, approximately 1275nm to Grenada. We sailed a beam reach for the past 24 hours, adjusting reefs based on winds and weather helm. Currently sailing with 2 reefs in the main and a full genoa.

Yesterday continued to be overcast, hazy and humid. We got some solar power but not a lot. The skies were largely cloud covered overnight with only occasional stars visible, and always through a haze. Today the skies are clearer, but it is still a bit hazy. We are getting better solar power this morning.

Yesterday afternoon, we added a 2nd reef to the main and rolled out the reef from the genoa. We continued along making good speeds. Overnight as the winds built a reef was added to the genoa and towards morning it was rolled back out. Minor sail changes and tweaks kept us busy.

The ride is ok. Things are a bit difficult in the galley and we are heeled over a bit. The waves have built and are largely coming directly from the side so they occasionally roll us pretty well. The forecast suggests we will move the wind further aft of the beam which would help for comfort and wave angle. We shall see if / when this happens.

No luck today for our every other morning fishing success unfortunately. There is so much sargassum weed! It continues to be a constant job to keep the fishing line, W&S and our dagger boards free of the stuff. It really is indescribable how much of it there is out here. Line after line of it spread every 150ft or so running parallel to the wind. Occasionally we cross great mats of the stuff. We hate it, but one cannot help but to be impressed by it. It manages to grab all sorts of improbable surfaces. Once a small bit latches on, it rapidly collects every other bit it touches. The jagged edges of its leaves act like the most tenacious hook-and-loop material. The large masses of it host their own ecosystems teaming with krill, small crabs, and countless other small creatures. Fish find shade beneath.

Another nuisance to ponder about: the Saharan mud that keeps building on the outside of the boat. We are over 1500nm from the western most edges of the Sahara, yet we are accumulating its dust. A mixture of muddy, red salt is being deposited on every windward surface of Zephyros. Lines and rigging are all coated with it on one side. The windward sides of our mast, boom and sails are covered with it. Grab rails are coated with it on their windward side as are the windward facing cockpit seats. The solar panels, dry deck sections, and canvas are covered with it. It is inescapable. When you go out on deck, your hands and clothes become covered with it almost instantly owing to every surface you touch. Messy, but impressive. It is part of the world cycle depositing nutrient rich dust into the Amazon basin. It is in the air and is the haze we see all around us.

Not much else to report. We are moving well, in the right direction. Things are pretty good.

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