Day 8, St Martin to the Azores

1600Z 04JUN23, Day 8, St Martin to the Azores. A fast start to yesterday's run with excellent average speeds was disappointingly slowed by light winds over night and another morning of hand steering, low winds, confused seas and us chasing the wind around. We are back in the winds and off again.

Current Position: 29 03N / 052 50W
24 hour progress: 117nm, 4.9kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 965nm, approximately 1335nm to the Azores. No engine cheating even though we really considered turning it on.

After yesterday's log post we had a little "one week complete party" with gummy bears and some chocolates. The sunny morning turned to hazy gray as we clipped along with 42nm covered in the first 6 hours—a 7kt average.

In the early afternoon the winds shifted north and we got pressed south with large seas on the beam. It seemed like a good time to gybe. We found a bit of a lull in the winds, gybed and continued on eastward.

The afternoon was overcast and sometimes rainy as the depression passed overhead. We were hit with a significant cell, 45+kt gusts and lots of rain. We reefed the genoa, went deep down wind and closed the door. Zephyros took it in stride and we had a smooth 10kt surf down a wave.

After the cell passed we were back to fast sailing in 20-25kt winds. As the barometer started climbing back up a bit we were back to a broad reach and a course just south of rhumb line.

Overnight the winds began falling. We shook reefs out of the main and did what we could to stay on course. By the early morning we were back to chasing the wind and hand steering in rolling seas coming from 2 different directions (90° apart).

We harnessed occasional bits of wind and gybed back to a starboard tack in anticipation of today's forecasted winds as a different part of the depression is due to catch back up with us.

There was more hand steering and some more adjustments on the main. We put 2 reefs in the main for the weather and waited to get caught up. A few early bands of rain had us thinking we might be off, but they quickly faded away. About 1.5 hours before the log day ended the winds filled in and we were off. We are deep broad reaching along the rhumb line with 2 reefs in the main a definite sweet spot for Zephyros, but a bit rolly to her crew.

The ship's clock has advanced an hour. So we are now UTC - 3. We have 3 more time changes to make before landfall.

The fishing line is back in because Daxton is desperate to catch a fish. But the parents would prefer not to fish, as it is another sporty day. Tough to be a trolling fisherman when you are either going too slow or your parents say too fast.

There have still been a few birds around and we had a dragonfly hitchhiker for a little while. He allowed us to get close for a photo while he rested. He flew away before the winds picked back up. We hope he is ok! Do they migrate across the ocean or is he lost? Things to look up when we have internet again…

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