555 miles to go - nearly there!
Chiscos - Atlantic Cruise
Sat 26 May 2012 14:15
We have had a couple of interesting days sailing. Yesterday the weather was very unsettled but we continued to make good progress in westerly winds, force 5-6. We were expecting a front to pass over us sometime around lunch time bringing with it a complete change in wind direction. We could see on the grib files that between the two weather systems there would probably be a couple of hours of little/no wind while the new wind (a predicted Northerly force 2-3) filled in. In reality though it never happens quite as the weather man says. The black sky was looming towards us pretty quickly and as soon as we took the genoa pole down the wind completely swung round 150 degrees in a matter of seconds, not diminishing in strength at all! We tacked and ended up back on course, being close hauled on port tack instead of going dead downwind on starboard - it was the largest, quickest wind shift any of us has ever seen, a very bizarre experience but it was lucky we were half prepared for it! The new ENE wind didn't let up at all and so once again we had a rather uncomfortable night, especially as by this time the wind had steadily turned the sea against us.
Today the wind has gradually decreased and become more northerly so we are currently drifting along at 3-4 knots hoping that it doesn't die completely. We can't complain though as the sun is shining and as I type we are being serenaded in the cockpit by Paul McCartney/Aled Jones/George Clooney (take your pick!). Corinne has taken advantage of the calm weather and baked some fresh Swiss bread which smells delicious and we have just reached 555 miles to go on the GPS, so although we are going pretty slowly (and lacking in sleep!) we are having a lovely day. We can't help but think a complete contrast to yesterday which was cold, wet and windy and Corinne and I spent the afternoon curled up in our warm, comfy beds!
We have spent a lot of time (apart from cursing the weather) singing and playing in the cockpit and trying to think of suitable songs we can play with our new banjo playing friend Hugh from Wild Goose, whose specialty is American bluegrass. Unsurprisingly our repertoire doesn't quite stretch that far so we have been scouring our IPods for suitable songs we can transcribe in time for our arrival in Horta. Apart from some entertaining sea shanties and a song by 'The Speedos' called West Virginia we are not doing so well, but luckily I hear Susan has been doing some research for us!
On to the fishing. I'm afraid to say that we are not doing well at all! We're not entirely sure what we are doing wrong but we think it's probably down to not having Regis and his expertise on board! It is lucky that we didn't allow for any 'catch of the day' in our provisioning as we might be running a bit low on supplies by now! (Although that's an exaggeration as we are still making our way through all the food that Julia stocked us up with in the Canaries. Just last night we enjoyed an M&S tin of chilli con carne).
Enough jabbering away, we're going to put the parasailor up. We'll probably have to take it down again in a couple of hours but we're determined not to come in last. Its lucky we weren't expecting any trade wind sailing as we definitely wouldn't have got it!