Azores to Gibraltar Day 5 - Closing Cape St Vincent and gett ing busier
Position 36:27.82 N 009:22.68 W
Date 2359 (UTC) Friday 31 March 2017
Distance run in 24hrs 155nm over the ground, 162nm through the water
Passage total 789nm over the ground, 778nm through the water
Distance to go 202nm
Planned distance Ponta Delgada, Azores to Gibraltar 986nm
Most of the day was spent motoring in very light winds from the WNW. These freshened towards nightfall allowing effective motor sailing without the genoa which is now furled awaiting further investigations in Gibraltar. The sailing was rather useful as around 2230 there was an engine alarm. No fault could be found but an hour later the engine closed itself down. At the time of writing I am not sure what the issue is. The engine restarted and sounded alright but with enough wind to now sail at 3.5 knots it was sensible to give it a rest.
At some stage, we realise that we must cross from outside the main north-south shipping channels so that we can take the northern inside route through the Straits of Gibraltar. We have a waypoint set for the south-east end of the Cape St Vincent and Pte Sagres Shipping Separation Zone; from there we will angle across as traffic permits. As we approach midnight there were a fleet of ships heading south and the lights could be clearly seen. Not quite as busy as the Malacca Straits (pull up a bollard and I will tell you a story etc..) but we did not have to cross that, just go with the flow. There will be some busy hours ahead.