homeward bound

Rick, Helen, Sue, John
Sun 24 Aug 2014 13:23
hello from 40.44N 26.30W
Well, just after 1pm on Saturday we left Angra do Heroismo (!) and rolled out into a sloppy swell with the – as advertised – 10 knots of south westerly. Once we turned on course (Eastish) this clearly wasn't enough to get us going so back on with the Yanmar to propel us to the south east corner where the breeze –as it was- had been lurking all along.
And so we turned onto our rhum line – nor-nor-east – and killed the engine and set the hydrovane (self steering). Is this work you ask? Well turning off the yanmar is just pressing a button and turning a key in THAT order. But, setting the hydrovane is a bit of a black art and once it’s done you hope you dont have to touch it again for , say, a week. Not the case yesterday, as no sooner had we got the sails doing their work, the wind faded to nothing and a number of interestiong species of bug and flies dropped in for a visit – so disconnect the hydrovane, rollup the foresails, crank in the main, get the yanmar earning its keep and swot the bloody flies.
Thereafter, like a long lost friend, the wind gradually reasserted itself and by 1800 we were motor sailing in about 12 knots south westerly over a reasonable westerly swell. Later, there was enough puff to dispense with the yanmar and once again trust to sails and hydrovane.  by 2200 i was in my bunk, listening to the whoosh of water by the boat driven by 18 knots WSW.  There is a sort of breathless rush when you are sailing a small boat at speed on her rhum line and she’s charging down the waves – especially if you are in bed with a good book.  My watch was from 0200 to 0400 this morning and the north star hung ahead of us as if showing the way righty across the sky the double bands of the milky way. There was a shooting star that left a trail over in the west – we trust in omens here.  I just missed the moonrise (0420) but so did H as a sharpish shower came along for her watch.
We’re now (11.45) heading NNE at 6.5 – 7 knots and level with the middle of portugal (but 800 miles out to the west).  Its more or less wall to wall blue, were all in shorts and t-shirts (except sue who is still in PJs).
We’re going to make the most of this as, as we head north, it will get colder and, no doubt, wetter.
More soon,
love the crew.