ARC Europe Leg 2 - Bermuda to Azores - 2
Sun 30 May 2010 16:43
We are  at 100nm to  Horta on the island of Faial.We are starting our 12 th day of the voyage. We estimate to land tomorrow morning.
Overall the voyage went fine. In the first days we were struggling to find the wind and used the engine several time to cross the lulls. On the 5th day we decided to "bite the bullet " and leave the comfortable zone 
between 33,5 to 35,5 degrees north  and used the E to NE wind to sail
straight to North. At 36.40 N we finally reached the path of the series of lows (low pressure centers) which have been moving east. Since then
we have winds veering W to SW  with regular force between 25 and 35 knots ( Bf 6-8) and gusts to 45 knots ( Bf 9 ) when the fronts are passing by. We have sailed all nights with storm jib as the winds were stronger during the night time.
We have registered the maximum  boat speed of 12,1knots The wind has built up quite heavy waves . At some periods the waves were 5m high, When calmer they still were at 3m. As they have come from the  side, GIN'S went into a heavy rolling exceeding 30 degrees from the vertical. That made it imposible to run the generator and charge the batteries so we have introduced total saving and stopped cooking hot meals. From time to time we changed the direction and found a position that at least the motor was running and charging batteries, not very efficient way.
It is raining most of the time and everything outside is wet, Also the humidity in the cabins is over 80 %. We use offshore oilskins with warm layers under them and winter caps.
I used 2 weather services. One with the 2 day forecast was provided by the ARC office and was delievered from Boston. The other US one  I ordered to have a second opinion and to get the 7 day perspective. Both worked well and the forecasts were quite accurate. Both usually stated the wind force values a bit too high.
We have frequesnt visitors. Dolphins came sometines in groups of 3 to 10 , but several times we met a large group up to 60 -70 animals. We saw whales jumping out of the water with the whole body several meters high, a lot of turtles, jelly fish with big transparent baloons above the surface. It is amazing that everyday we saw birds,  flying around us, even 800nm from the nearest land piece.
Everybody is healthy and in a good mood. Bodies are tired due to constant stretching of all muscles to keep the balance, even during the sleep. Since the level of experience with the boat grew, we have practised one person watch, so we can have enough sleep.
We have not done any fishing as we had purchased excellent meet and had it vacuum packed. Salad  (romaine lettuce) was keeping well in plastic bags and in fridge.
Today we have changed the time and went to local time of the Azores, which is UTC ( currently 2 hours behind Vienna).Still have to change the maps on the plotter to get the details of Azores.