Azores to Falmouth - Day Seven 46 53.534N 015 12.466W

Mike and Liz Downing
Tue 22 Jul 2014 17:40
Good news and bad news - that sums up the weather forecast. The good news is that according to yesterday's forecast we should be motoring now and should have been motoring all day, but while still light, the wind has stayed higher than forecast and it's been possible to sail the whole time. The wind has been shifting around, but we've managed to keep going between 4 and 5.5kts most of the time, making a respectable 121 miles from noon to noon. The bad news is that according to today's forecast the winds drop out completely later today and tomorrow, and the even worse news is that it's saying the northerly winds, that were going to stay in the north for days from Thursday onwards, are now only going to stay in the north for only a day before going north easterly for days. That is really not good news as that's just where we want to go! We're using the grib file forecasts and they're what we always use at sea. They're pretty good, but generally the only ones we can actually get when at sea, so we have no choice. They are also the only ones that give a forecast for more than 24 or 48 hours out. However, we can get the UK Shipping forecast and we're now actually within it - the first time for 6 years! We're just in the north west of Fitzroy, so we've downloaded it for the first time today. That doesn't entirely agree with the gribs and is slightly better for the next 24 hours, but it does only cover the next 24 hours. So we will see.

Passed a milestone today - we have less than 500 miles to go and at this point, precisely 437! Another first on this passage is that we are now a conventional sailing yacht - main and headsail, so no poles! We've had a pole up ever since leaving the Azores and even in the rough weather we left the windward pole up even though we didn't use it at the time. And another first for this passage is dolphins bow riding. Only a few and only for a few minutes, but I was up on the bow changing sails so had a great view looking down on them.

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