Day 11, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 07JUN23, Day 11, St Martin to the Azores. Yesterday afternoon was sunny with some high cloud cover. Over night was mostly the same then some rain in the early morning hours. This morning is hazy but sunny.

Current Position: 31 29N / 046 34W
24 hour progress: 106nm, 4.4kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1,332nm, approximately 980nm to the Azores.

The light winds continued yesterday and we did easy, slow miles on the asymmetric spinnaker. We enjoyed a sunny and calm afternoon. Everyone got to rest a bit and did their own thing - napping, reading and listening to music. Megan made a favorite meal for dinner.

At sunset we pulled in the asymmetric as the winds could build overnight according to the forecasts. We crept along and turned into the wind a bit to keep sailing. This pushed us a bit south of rhumb line.

In the early morning watch turnover we shook out reefs, leaving one reef in the main and went for a broad reach and a course south of rhumb line. While the course wasn't great, the speeds were better.

A few storm cells passed over and we had some rain and gusty weather. Then they moved on again. We adjusted the genoa for the gusts - reefing in and then going back to full genoa after the cells passed.

The wind angle is a bit too far behind us to get the most out of the sails and make a good course to Horta. That means tinkering with points of sail. For most of the night we hadn't really had enough wind to sail efficiently deep downwind, but with the morning came just a little more wind. After Megan had a morning nap, we started tinkering.

Our broad reach was now taking us due east so we dropped the main to the 4th reef so that we could go deeper downwind. That still didn't get us to rhumb line course so we decided to gybe. We gybed but that had us going further north than desired. More tinkering needed. We rolled out the staysail to the upwind side, held it out to port and turned deeper downwind with the headsails flying wing-on-wing. Ahhh, now we have ok speed and a great course!

In all the tinkering a sailboat showed up on our AIS about 8nm away. SV Saba was closing in on us. They are going faster; we have a better heading. They look like they are working harder for the miles made good at the moment. Just after we passed (inside of 1nm. Can you see them under the twin headsails in the low resolution photo?), we chatted briefly learning they were French and sailing from Marie Galante island in Guadeloupe. They are a crew of four adults and a 15 year old teenage boy. Hopefully we will get to say hello to them in Horta. If there is more than one boat, it is a race.

We expect the wind to keep moving north today and to be in the 20-25kt range. We are hoping for a better mileage day with a direct course.

The fishing line is back in; still no fish. The occasional petrel still flies by. The days pass and we get closer.

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