Day 15, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 11JUN23, Day 15, St Martin to the Azores. Today is dreary, rainy and chilly. We are back in the winds now and making great progress in the right direction.

Current Position: 36 02N / 036 16W
24 hour progress: 151nm, 6.3kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 1,919nm, approximately 395nm to the Azores.

Soon after yesterday's log entry the winds filled in a little and they have gradually picked up from there. We started off sailing a reach under full sail in about 10kts of breeze. By Daxton's watch the winds were around 15kts and we were still on a beam reach (starboard tack).

At Ronan's watch turnover winds were gusting to 20kts and it was time for a reef in the main. Jon went up to the mast to reef and the port side lazy jacks gave out dropping the sail bag on top of him.

These things nearly always happen at night! It wasn't a huge deal as this has happened before. The one bit of line that isn't dyneema in the system suffers from both UV damage and chaffe from the sail. They just fail every so often. They aren't critical, but they make handling the sail when reefed much easier. The quick fix is to use the topping lift line to lift the dyneema lower pieces of the lazy jack until we can go up the mast and retrieve the broken line.

It was all sorted fairly easily. It just took a little bit of time in the dark and slowed the setting of the reef. The line that broke will need to be retrieved and reset; however, it has wrapped itself out of the way at the mast below the first spreader so it will probably wait until Horta to be corrected unless there is a calm opportunity before then. We will keep an eye on it and can deal with it, if it decides to get in the way or be a problem.

The clouds that had started to cover the sky yesterday afternoon continued to roll in. The night was cloudy, chilly and dark with 15-20kts of wind. We were able to move the apparent wind aft of the beam giving us a deeper beam reach while continuing to point directly to Horta.

As the winds were expected to build before sunrise, during the early morning watch turnover we put a second reef in the main. The winds really didn't build until after sunrise so it was probably added a bit early. No matter, we kept a good speed and direct course.

The sun rose, but the day is gray, dreary, rainy and cool. The winds built to the 20-25kts range and we continued sailing a deep reach. Speedily and on rhumb line.

As the morning rolled on, we began surfing a bit sideways and turning into the wind. As we seemed over powered a third reef went into the main. Winds were now a steady 25kts gusting to 30 with the seas building.

We are now on a broad reach to make rhumb line which is more comfortable. The waves are more following now. We are occasionally getting speeds of 8-9kts surfing the waves. It's a sporty afternoon and Zephyros is happily plowing away.

We expect the winds to stay up until the early morning hours. Then we should have a comfortable 20kts more or less the rest of the way in. At least that's what the weather forecasts suggest. Actual results may vary.

We are excited to be closing in on landfall. As the sailing is sporty today the fishing line is not out. We are still seeing shearwaters and expect that we might start to see other birds as we are getting close to the Azores.

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