Day 7, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 03JUN23, Day 7, St Martin to the Azores. A week at sea! To wrap up the week, we had an eventful morning with hand steering, low winds, confused seas and us chasing the wind around. Now things have filled in and Zephyros is cruising along in her element.

Current Position: 28 34N / 054 46W
24 hour progress: 119nm, 5.0kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 848nm, approximately 1435nm to the Azores.

Yesterday continued as a haze gray and underway day with the layer of overcast blanketing the whole day. We went from slow close reach sailing in light winds to downwind sailing in a fresh breeze. In the early afternoon we put 2 reefs in the main as we thought maybe the winds had shifted and were starting to build. Not so fast! We ended up back to close reach sailing north of rhumb line over the kids watches. We left the reefs in as we still expected the winds to build quickly overnight.

For Jon's watch there were indeed some winds and rain cells but the wind was back to being from the south rather than the west as forecast. This meant reefs in and out of the genoa and more progress to the north of rhumb line. For Megan's early morning watch the wind continued to be finicky and there was a good bit of rain. The wind would start to turn and then drop away. So Megan found herself out hand steering in a warm rain to bring us back to close reaching north of rhumb line sailing while chasing the wind in confused seas.

About an hour later the winds died again. Back to hand steering and more chasing the wind. This time it was sunny and everyone was awake so there were other hands available. Slowly the winds filled in and we were on a broad reach with the wind from the west, making a course south of east. The seas were quite confused, lumpy and uncomfortable (ie "bouncy").

Now the winds have filled in to 25kts +/- 5kts and the seas have settled to mostly from the aft quarter at 2-3 meters. Zephyros is comfortably moving along headed east—she really loves 20-30kts of wind aft of the beam. We reefed the main down to the 4th reef so that we can head a bit deeper downwind with the genoa in clear air. We plan to gybe, probably late this afternoon, though the weather forecasts continue to be inconsistent. The one thing the models all agree on is warm temperatures. It is nice to be sailing in a little weather while still wearing shorts and not worrying about getting wet.

In the large wind and seas we had three ships all at once on the AIS. Only one was any factor and he just passed in front of us, close enough to see at 4nm.

The fishing line didn't yield anything yesterday and the parents deemed the confused seas too sporty to deal with a fish today. Apparently this is acceptable.

We have seen a new type of bird. There were quite a few of them around when we were chasing the wind. They would float on the sea nearby as well as soar around us. Our best guess is that they are some kind of petrel. Maybe the Bermuda Petrel?

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