Day 8, Azores to Ireland

0930Z 08AUG23, Day 8, Azores to Ireland. The best mileage day of the trip and we are down to 250nm to go! Looking good for a morning arrival on Thursday the 10th.

Current Position: 49 16N / 013 52W
24 hour progress: 136nm, 5.7kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 972nm, approximately 250nm to Kinsale.

We sailed wing-on-wing throughout the day with the genoa poled out to our starboard side and the main off to port with one reef in. We made good speed with an ok course. However, through the day our course gradually moved more south of rhumb line.

Saga sailed with a single poled out headsail and made a nice direct course. This kept them and their lead steady.

We enjoyed a couple of dolphin visits in the afternoon with dolphins leaping out of the water next to the bow. They are always a morale booster and never get old. They stayed with us for a bit playing joyfully in our 6.5-7kt bow wake.

Around 4pm we gybed the main across and sailed a deep broad reach on port tack with the genoa still poled out which gave us more of a direct course.

In the early evening, we analyzed weather. The winds were expected to continue to move towards the west before coming back to the SW. There was also supposed to be a bit more wind expected to the north. Therefore we decided to take down the pole and sail a broad reach overnight. We also shook out the reef. This kept our speeds up and kept everything comfortable through the night. As expected our course gradually veered a bit more north of rhumb line.

On the early morning watch turn over, with a fog bow as the sun tried to burn through the haze and fog, Jon and Megan got the pole back up and set the sails back up wing-on-wing for a direct course again. The pole and genoa are off to starboard and the full main off to port.

We gained a new sailboat on AIS, SV Swea, that showed up in the early morning hours. We have been slowly opening on them since setting up wing-on-wing and they are headed about 20 degrees further east. There was no way we could even have a chance of seeing them as visibility has been very low since fog rolled in early last night.

Our morning check-in with Saga showed that we had crossed over to the north while they enjoyed slower but direct sailing on their single poled out sail set up. They were 24nm away but only about 5nm closer to Kinsale. It seems we clawed back a few miles even if our course was less direct.

While it is fun to be comparing notes and racing, in the end we are both trying for an early morning arrival to Kinsale on Thursday so in all likelihood we will both be adjusting course and speeds to arrive at similar times. Safe arrivals for all are really the goal - though bragging rights at the dock are a fun bonus.

We are all looking forward to landfall and some Irish food. Kinsale is apparently a bit of a gastronomic destination. Daxton is excited about crossing over the shelf and through the fishing fleet as he thinks our chances to catch a fish will improve. The parents are less excited about all the fishing and shipping traffic that we will soon encounter. Life is quiet and comfortable aboard.

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