36 21N 36 43W
21 May 2013
Our 0600 log shows we did 169nm towards Horta (our destination in the Azores) over the last 24hrs – an average of just over 7kts – a great mileage against the wind and our biggest day yet. Most of that is due to the skill of the crew of course but the stronger winds have helped a little.
Last night the moon came and went as clouds obscured it and the stars every 20 minutes or so leaving navigation to instruments at times. Confusing when the star that has been guiding you so well quietly disappears. The stronger winds produced a bigger than usual wake. At 8kts the triangle of white foam that starts at the bow and widens at the back reaches out maybe 25 yards. With the moon out the surf glows white and frothy. With no moon it glows even more. The zooplankton give a 1000 shimmering stars, the squid a dozen full moons all shining with that strange greenish white. Like fluorescent icing on a delicious black cake.
The concentration to steer well and fast means there is little conversation, on downwind trips there is plenty of time to chat. Not so against the wind. With buckets of water projected backwards on a regular basis we soon learn to bow low – from the hips as in a Japanese greeting- not because Zen will protect us from a wet face then water seeping into clothing – but because the water hits the hood of the big jackets we wear and trickles harmlessly over our shoulders. However every helm loses concentration after a while and lapses into a waking dream like state. Minutes pass without even looking at a dial, but still the course is straight. Focus on sailing well gets interspersed with thoughts of home, work, love, life. In the dark the heightened awareness puts all our usual problems in context. It sorts out what is important and what is not. But mostly we review ourselves. We will take these thoughts with us on our return and hopefully have the courage to make the changes to make us better people.
While the metaphysical is going on upstairs what is happening downstairs? Well the speed and bigger waves means that the boat flies off the top on one wave and crashes onto the next. This bone shuddering jolt would awaken the dead but not our experienced ocean crew. As the boat drops off the top of a wave it falls sharply, leaving the sleeper suspended as in a levitation magic act. Of course gravity sucks the sleeper back onto the bunk a split second later. This is repeated so often that the slumber is not broken. Partners, lovers, wives; if you have ever wanted to wreak revenge on your man, feel free when he returns. I can guarantee he will not wake up or even notice a few more bruises.
As I finish this the sun is up and warming. Everyone is having some extra sleep as we were all up at 3am stowing the main sail. The boat itself seems to be having a quiet snooze. The seas are a little calmer and the wind easing and in a good direction. The forecast for the next few days is favourable. It looks like another good day in paradise.
Know our thoughts are with you.
All our love