eXhilarating afternoon sail, motoring through the night again

Sat 9 May 2009 21:08
38:40.28N 9:24.17W
After leaving Cascias the heavens opened. Then the wind came in;  20 - 26 knots on the beam. Full sail up surfing the Atlantic rollers - constant boat speeds of 10+ knots with Lol and Vics on the helm they got over 12 a couple of times. eXhilarance is at her most happy on a close/beam reach - she can take full sail on these tacks up to 20 knots. With 15-20 knots she behaves more like a Wayfarer dingy than a 16 tonne 50 foot boat - amasing. Wish you were here to feel it - we all had smiles on our faces.
A squall cam through - took the tops of the waves and the sea went white - Pip and I quickly got a couple of reefs in and then the wind dropped off to 6 knots!
Lol is asleep. We have just had Carrot and Corriander soup served to us in the cockpit by Vics. What wind there is is southerly and warm (from Africa I guess). So we really enjoyed our late supper in warm airs with the sun going down.
I have just read the log - we have done 969 nm since leaving Hamble. So we will pass the 1000nm mark during the night.
We are thinking now we might head straight for Barbate, just round the corner from Gib. You have to plan your entrance through the Straights of Gibralta very carefully. The Straights are effectively a narrow tube for the whole of the tidal movement in and out of the Med so tide and also winds funnel through fast. So if you get it wrong you go nowhere in turbulent seas. Barbate is very common waiting place - go when wind and tide is right. If all goes to plan we will arrive in Barbate on Monday. Gib Monday pm or Tuesday.
We will probably stay close to the Algarve coast as we go round to try and stay in GSM comms rather than using the sat phone.
I am 5 minutes late for my 10-1 watch. Goodnight to all.