Day 12, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 08JUN23, Day 12, St Martin to the Azores. We are ticking away the miles and moving well. Each of the crew is starting to make projections on when we might reach the Azores, but there is still a bit of sailing left to do!

Current Position: 32 33N / 044 03W
24 hour progress: 145nm, 6kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1,477nm, approximately 835nm to the Azores.

The past 24 hours have been busy with sail configuration changes and decent winds. At the end of the last log we were wing on wing using both headsails. The wind continued to turn north so we pulled in the staysail and sailed deep downwind on the port tack.

Soon we were close enough to a broad reach that we shook out 2 reefs from the main and sailed that configuration for awhile in 15-20kt winds. As winds were expected to lighten over night we moved to one reef in the main as we continued to gradually move towards a reach.

The winds did not lighten and they kept moving north which meant forward of the beam for us to keep a rhumb line course. At first, the thought was that it was just storm cells so the genoa got a reef. But when the winds were actually building and now 20-25 kts, the 2nd reef went back into the main.

We kept turning higher and higher. Another reef went into the main, then another in the genoa. It was a busy night.

Saba appeared on our AIS again. About 8nm ahead of us and crossing our track. They are definitely sailing harder but not necessarily smarter (at least that is the story we are telling ourselves). We are quite sure they will beat us to Horta, but we get the satisfaction of having a better course while they fly along with more sail up and crisscrossing rhumb line.

The moon rose late and hid behind clouds. It was a dark night with good bio-luminescence. Rain cells passed and the winds gusted. With 3 reefs in the main, the gusts were easily handled with reefs in and out of the genoa as we continued sailing with the wind shifting further forward to a close reach.

Around sunrise, the winds actually began to lighten back to the 15-20kt range. We gradually came back to full genoa and as the crew on the boat awakened, we shook reefs out of the main as well

We are punching along on a close reach with 1 reef left in the main. We have been able to keep a pretty direct course to Horta. The ship's clock was rolled forward another hour yesterday. Two more time changes to go.

The fishing line is back in; again. Still no fish though today there is less sargassum to clear from the line. We had dolphin visitors this morning and a bunch of birds. We had been calling them petrels but we now think they are greater shearwaters—at least the ones we are seeing now. Further research and looking at birds in the Merlin Bird ID app have made us reconsider our initial call.

This morning there was a flock of shearwaters that took interest in us. Daxton was bargaining with them not to take the fishing lure. There were around 10 or so that would come by, land next to the boat and look underwater checking for fish under Zephyros. They would also stop near the fishing lure and put their heads in. Thankfully they have good eyesight and aren't easily fooled by fishing lures! They were quite comical. A bird would land and immediately look in the water. The lure would be pulled away by the boat. The shearwater would paddle/fly forward and get another look then decide it wasn't worth further pursuing. Then a new bird would land and go through the same process. After a little while they deemed us boring and continued on.

Other updates from onboard: Megan's basil has all died. Passages are always hard on Basil. The aloe plant has taken 2 tumbles but seems to be coping alright so far. Sourdough bread is back to working well again, with nearly daily loaves provided to the hungry crew.

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