Atlantic crossing day 2½ onwards east to Spain
37:08.0N 18:37.6W Sunday 21st June @0000 GMT
I forgot to post the blog yesterday to here is a little midnight rambling…
We set off as planned on Thursday and, as expected, motored through the windshadow of S. Miguel before finding wind after 3½ hrs. We passed several whales – pilot whales I think, plus more blowing in the distance. Coincidentally we left just before the catamaran “Liladhoc” – the same boat we arrived in the Azores with a couple of weeks ago. Being a large cat they made better use of the wind than we could and they soon overtook us, after taking some photos of us under full sail, which we hope to be able to post here after they reach Gibraltar.
It wasn’t all fun being back on passage though; we were expecting a “perfect beam reach” ie moderate (15kt) winds from the north, but what we got were stronger NE winds and surprisingly rough seas. We spent most of the first 2 days in very bouncy conditions with the boat heeled over and making moving around quite a physical challenge. To make matters harder neither of us could get much sleep at first. Apart from the irritation of being forced south of planned track the only incident was a near miss with a catamaran apparently not under command at 3 a.m. (crew all asleep maybe?). We’d seen their lights heading roughly towards us for a while and I started making course changes to keep out of their way and it seemed we would pass each other with a good few hundred yards to spare. As they neared though they seemed to veer towards us so I grabbed the helm and wrenched us 90 degrees over, missing them literally by yards. Their sails were flapping all over the place so I can only assume that they hadn’t been sailing purposefully west as I thought, but just drifting about. Quite scary. Tonight we’ve had to make another course change to keep out of the way of yet another cat, apparently headed for the same next waypoint we are (460 miles away)!
The wind has now gone really light and we’ve been motoring since Saturday morning in increasingly glassy seas. The Atlantic swell is with us and we are making slow progress into a slight current. The weather forecast I downloaded today isn’t very promising either. Depressingly I’m back to calculating whether we have enough fuel to reach the nearest port! (We do). After 2.5 days we have covered 350nm and have 545 to go before we reach Ayamonte on the Portuguese/Spanish border. The reason we’re moving on again is the cost of flights back to the Azores in July. Flying to the UK for the next scan at the end of this month was affordable, but getting back – wow! After some soul (and internet) searching we decided to sail back to the mainland, fly to Bristol from Faro and leave the boat at the nearest affordable marina in Spain. We’ve paid for the flights, so we left as soon as the winds permitted, and yet here we are 2 days later praying for wind again soon…