Ascension Northwards - Day Nineteen 10 12.765N 052 09.054W

Mike and Liz Downing
Fri 2 May 2014 18:53
Every day there seems to be at least one period of lighter winds. Last night it was 20.00 to midnight and it was hard work keeping the speed up to 6kts, needing the windward sail, so 3 sails, to do it. After that the wind was up to 20kts plus at times and it was back to 2 sails and both well reefed to keep the speed down to 7kts. (It's still very dark with no moon.) So we are having to sail every mile on this passage - not just put the sails up and leave them for days (which does happen on downwind passages). However, the good news is that we did break the 150 mile target, making a noon-to-noon run of 156 miles. Also the sea has been pretty good the last few days with the swell (around 1.5 to 2 metres) and wind waves all on the starboard quarter, giving an easy motion. Unlike the boats that are much closer to coast. They've been experiencing rough 3 metre swells on the beam with a lot of water breaking over the boats and into the cockpits. Not at all pleasant! Most of them have now arrived at destinations in French Guyana, Suriname and British Guyana. Of the 8 or so reporting into the net, we are now down to just 3 - us and 2 others. One of those is 350 miles to the west, so much closer the coast and is heading for Tobago. The other is 2,000 miles back heading for FdN. So the 'fleet' is now only a small one!

A reason to celebrate today - we have sailed over 2,500 miles from Ascension Island, having passed this figure in the early hours this morning. My comments yesterday regarding Barbados may have suggested that we are close to it. Well we are, relatively speaking, but still have 452 miles to go to pass it. St Lucia, all the way to Rodney Bay on the northwest coast, which is where we're bound for, is still 570 miles away. As we're getting closer we can afford to be a bit more liberal with the stores, knowing that we shouldn't run out before we arrive. That makes mealtimes, and particularly snacking, a lot more rewarding - more to choose from and we can start putting on weight again!

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