Day 17, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 13JUN23, Day 17, St Martin to the Azores. We are getting close now! We are hoping for an arrival before sunset tomorrow. The winds have come back but our 24 hour progress was up and down. In the end, we salvaged an average mileage day out of the conditions.

Current Position: 37 57N / 031 35W
24 hour progress: 128nm, 5.3kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 2,186nm, approximately 145nm to Horta.

Yesterday the weather remained beautiful. The night was star-filled and chilly. Today has been a bit hazy at times, but sunny and very pleasant. We have had some really nice weather for the trip with not a lot rain—of course that means the boat will need a good wash down at some point to remove all the accumulated salt.

The winds yesterday were a bit disappointing. We weren't sailing very well and the winds were less than we expected based on the forecasts. This means the estimated arrival time was creeping later and later. The excitement and anticipation of making landfall was being pushed back with this delay. It is a bit of a let down and morale crusher if you fixate on it; but that's how it goes with sailing. You do what you can with what you get.

We continued sailing with the poled out genoa and wing on wing configuration. It was doing ok for us in the lighter than forecasted winds.

Before the overnight watch cycle began, we discussed that Flores no longer seemed possible, at least not with an arrival before sunset. With the forecasted wind direction it seemed to make the most sense to continue on the wing on wing set up and see how we did overnight while continuing to hedge our bets between the two options.

However, our course got worse and worse. We decided to gybe the main across. We sailed a starboard tack with full main and the poled out genoa. This was a bit slow but allowed us a direct to Horta course and to stay deep downwind.

While gybing the main across, Ronan spotted a sailboat on AIS. They were more or less on our course about 8nm behind us. They were going a bit faster than us and we expected them to pass us eventually. Around 0330 UTC they passed about 1nm to our starboard. They are a 55ft sailboat (according to AIS) and were clearly faster than us. (It is always a bit sad to be passed—another morale hit.) We did our best to keep up with them, but they are no longer on our AIS.

We continued to be frustrated by the slower than expected winds and boat speeds. Daylight would mean time to tweak sail configurations and see if we could improve speeds and our corresponding ETA.

After sunrise the winds built up to what we had expected them to be the whole rest of our trip - 15-25kts, rather than the 12-15kts of yesterday. So we kept sailing what we had up as a little more morning sleep was logged.

Once the crew was up we were pretty close to a broad reach. We secured the pole and have been sailing full sails, on a deep broad reach with a good course to Horta. We are hoping the wind will turn a bit to the south to give us a cleaner (better wind through the sails) broad reach. That should increase our speed a little as well.

We decided to keep heading for Horta. It just never looked like we could make Flores before sunset today and we want to be in Horta when Paikea arrives. They are putting impressive miles under their keels and should arrive on Friday—a 13 day passage from St Martin!

In other news, dolphins came to visit. They surfed around the boat for about 5 minutes. Went away for 10-15 minutes and came back for another 5 minutes. They always brighten the mood. Watching them play never gets old.

The fishing line is back in, but still no fish for us. Probably too many dolphins around. The occasional bird is seen, but we haven't seen the numbers build yet as one usually does during the approach to land.

No comments:

Post a Comment