15:47’N 28:27’W Bread :) and ships that pass in the night

S/V Blue Argolis
Greg and Sue Hill
Mon 5 Dec 2022 12:22

 Latitude: 15 47.041’N       Longitude: 28 27.580’W      Monday 5 December 2022

Yesterday afternoon we motored, then drifted on a flat undulating ocean, enjoying the calm and the experience in the sunshine. The sea was totally flat, with huge majestic swells that you could see roll in, under the boat and away. Greg cracked through his chores, then made bread! No mean feet in the galley, oven on and the heat…. I retired into the shady cockpit to read my book! The results were sublime :) fantastic smell of fresh bread, which we then devoured for supper, and very unusually for us, with a sundowner of sangria, and an avocado and smoked salmon salad in the cockpit as the sun sank over the horizon. We were definitely the only people dinning in that restaurant with a spectacular sea view.

At the same time he also fished, sadly no fish to go with supper, but the rod did go off and we got all excited. However, sadly even out here in open ocean he’d caught a plastic bag :’( needless to say that is now safely in the gash (rubbish on board). In fact we have had little sightings of wild life, even the flying fish seem to have deserted us? But, we put the rod out everyday and live in hope …. Score so far…. 0.

As night fell, and seeing as Greg had thrashed me at crib (we’ve decided he’s the champion of that particular latitude/longitude, not the whole Atlantic!). I went off watch and left the skipper to it. Perfect sleeping conditions being gently rocked to sleep in our very comfortable sea berth ;) At about 22.00 the wind started to fill and Greg rolled out the head sail. We went from 0 knots through the water to 2, to 3 …. Happy days. Greg also down loaded our weather ‘grib’ files, our course was taking us directly into a big wind hole :0 so we are deliberately re-routed ourselves south of our rhum line (straight distance) course to avoid it. When you have 2,000 nm to do a bit of extra miles south to get better more consistent wind is definitely worth it. 

I took over the watch at midnight, the moon is almost full so the night was really bright, the stars were out and although I needed a jacket the night was barmy, the sea flat and there was a light steady wind propelling us along at about 3 knots. Perfect sailing! What’s not to love? As I surveyed the horizon between 02.00 and 03.00hrs I noticed a green (starboard) light in the distance. As we left Mindelo, Mike/Debs Steele sent us a screen shot of marine traffic showing the Atlantic Ocean looking like the M25 with boats going east to west, it is the season and we know that the ARC fleet are out here. However, although we left with a small Armada  of boats from Mindelo, within about 6 hours, with all the boats on slightly different headings and sailing their own course they, all disappeared. We have seen nothing since, in fact we have turned the nav. Screen off to save power.

At first you’re thinking to yourself, wow, a light! You watch it fixated! At a distance of over 3 miles we can’t see other yachts on our AIS (automatic identification system) so you have no idea which direction it is going? And whether there is a risk of collision…. But nothing happens quickly at sea and so you watch and wait, observe. At 3 miles we can read a ships name and course and distance on our AIS, of all the oceans in all the world ‘Hannah Penn’ had sailed into ours. However, at about 3 hours later she passed safely and astern of us, green starboard light turning to a red port light, then white stern light and disappeared into the darkness as silently as she came. You are left wondering where she was from, where she was going? Who was onboard, we’re they asleep or watching us to. We will never know, just another ship that passed in the night.

We changed watches, and a some time in the early hours the skipper got the cruising chute up and the mizzen, we are cruising south west now in 9 knots of wind, but holding 4 to 6 knots boat speed so definitely not in the wind hole…. Long may it last!

Yesterday’s run 58nm, possible our slowest yet on this whole trip. If that continued Greg would run out of fresh oranges before making the other side! But, it won’t and we are doing well, Alpha Whiskey!

Yours aye

Greg and Sue xx

Sent from my iPad