Ascension Island to the Azores Day 23 – Still hard on the wind going north

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Wed 15 Mar 2017 04:17
Position                31:30.70 N 022:44.77 W
Date                     2359 (UTC) Tuesday 14 March 2017
Distance run          in 24hrs 118nm over the ground, 118nm through the water
Passage total        3,198nm over the ground, 3,113nm through the water
Distance to go      401nm        This is our direct routing.  The actual distance may be longer
                                               if we are forced west of our destination
Planned distance   Ascension to the Azores west around the high 3,666nm
Everything is relative.  We started the 24 hours with the true wind at 32 knots giving 35 consistently across the deck so when by midday we were recording a mere 18 and 20 with less steep seas the conditions seemed positively benign.  Do not be fooled however as the wind continued to gust at regular intervals up to 30 knots.  We were however able to set more of the mainsail and this improved our speed a little, as is reflect in the daily run totals.  The drive belt on our genoa furler went yesterday as the wind was rising.  Fortunately and unusually, the genoa was almost fully furled which meant that we are carrying just a small amount of genoa, quite suitable for the conditions and there is no requirement to do anything about it until absolutely necessary.  We have managed to keep well up to windward, i.e. to the east of our rhumb line, over the last 48 hours and have no wish to loose any of that running downwind or hove to whilst we fix the furler.
Sailors reading our tales of daring do will no doubt be familiar with the rigours of living on a sailing boat going to windward.  For those who have not shared in this,  surely one of life's real delights, or tried it for weeks at a time, it is difficult to explain; but the Mate wishes me to try.  Everything appears to be in constant motion.  Nothing stays where you have put it, unless fixed down.  Cooking, or even reheating, food is a challenge as you have to coordinate being not thrown about yourself with getting things from packet to the moving target of pan whilst wielding spoons and other tools.  Getting fluids from bottle, kettle or coffee pot to mug without them missing and going down the sink is a well earned skill.  The simple act of getting dressed becomes an act of gymnastic proportions as you have to wedge yourself in whilst avoiding getting two feet in one trouser leg and becoming yourself an unguided aimed missile.  Finding that ideal position in the cockpit where you can stay secure in relative comfort as the boat bucks around between 10 and 20 degrees to the horizontal underneath you is a challenge to be met.  We will not digress further into the area of personal comforts.  Enough - you get the general idea.  Sailors tend to forget such things and remember those halcyon days of sun, calm seas and a decent breeze - if only!  Still, nobody said it was easy and what is life without the odd challenge.