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Date: 30 Apr 2014 19:33:00
Title: Ascension Northwards - Day Seventeen 08 23.085N 047 28.135W

At dusk last night the wind came up to 20kts+ and the scrap of windward sail we had poled out was rolled away, leaving the main and genoa, both well reefed. With the course we're trying to make that sail is just on its limit in term of the angle of the wind - if the wind comes round a bit further it's easy to accidentally back it. Besides, with the stronger wind we could bring it closer to the beam, increasing the apparent wind and our speed, so no point in taking the risk. However, that scrap of windward sail does help balance the boat in a lumpy sea and we did notice the difference. The stronger wind stayed most of the night and kept the speed up, giving a noon-to-noon run of 149 miles, so not bad at all. It's a shame that we still have half a knot of counter current. It would have been over 160 if that wasn't there.

Finally saw our first ship of this passage - so first ship in 16 days. It passed 7.4 miles away at 22.45 last night, going in the opposite direction. I actually spotted it visually before noticing it on AIS. I saw what I thought might be the loom of a deep-sea fishing vessel and went to check on radar, only to see it on AIS, which showed it was 850ft or so long. I could see its two masts and through the binoculars could easily see it's starboard light, but due to the angle it was passing, it was gone within 20 minutes. So our record of 17 days without seeing a ship still stands!

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