Land "A"hoy.

Paul Huntley
Fri 5 Jun 2009 19:27

38:35N 32:01W

Friday 5th June 2009.

Hello to all of you out there following our passage, Land, well not quite, we have one hundred and sixty miles to run to Horta, Faial in the Azores. Since I last downloaded a blog to you we have again had a mixture on weather that Bruce, the Australian weather forecaster has been having problems interpreting. He has been getting it wrong most of the time for our location over the last two weeks. We had a forecast of 8/10 knot N, NW yesterday which in fact turned into a 12/18 knot W, SW this came a pleasant surprise. We were becalmed in the early hours of Thursday morning, the wind boxing the compass, when a zephyr of a breeze floated across the water causing just a ripple at first, but gaining strength. Within the hour we had a fresh to strong westerly. I was off watch, but woke to the sound of the on watch crew rushing around on deck, with cries of yes now! No down, again. They were hoisting our large spinnaker. This sail is more than 1000 square feet, the panels alternating red white and blue in the form of the Union Jack, It is a spectacular site when set, surging ahead of the bow, it gave us more than seven and a half knots towards Horta, We all sat back in the cockpit with a sense of satisfaction and the hope that this would go on forever. To compliment this, dawn arrived with clear skies and a big orange ball of a sun on the eastern horizon. We sailed on throughout the day and into the night, reluctant to let this opportunity pass. It would normally be my policy to change sail to genoa and main before dark, because collapsing a spinnaker in a rising wind in the dark is every cruising man's nightmare. You need at least three on the fore deck and two in the cockpit to tame this beast back into its bag. The risk paid off, this time, our luck held, and we sailed through the night with a brilliant moon and phosphorescent sea. All but Lucien, who had the 02:00 am watch sat in the cockpit sipping the last of our stock of rum punch and drinking in the beauty of the moment, sailing doesn’t get any better. We turned in at midnight leaving Guy on watch.Libertad sailed through the night to an early dawn with a brilliant sun rise. By 09:00 am the clouds were building from the north, bringing the inevitable end to this sail of sails. We reluctantly dropped the spinnaker at noon local time and banked 170 nm towards our goal and thirty hours flying the kite! The forecast on e-mail this morning indicated a freshening N, NW wind of 8/15 knots; we are motoring as I write this at 6:5 knots, wrong again Bruce! Maybe it's still on its way.

We hope to arrive in Horta by tomorrow evening, but the party has begun in port without us and many other yachts, we, along with a third of the fleet who are still at sea, will miss a welcome reception and a tour of  Faial tomorrow which is a shame. The fleet will begin the Azorean cruise on Sunday but, without us and many of the other late arrivals, we have to refuel and victual as well as get some sleep, and all the crew are exhausted after seventeen hard days at sea. We need to rest; I would hope that we could possibly catch up with the rest of the fleet on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Our plan is to sail for Falmouth on Saturday of next week all being well. Homeward bound, a year almost to the day we should cross our outbound track. Enough of that I am getting ahead of myself we have some Islands to explore.

The World cruising club tells me that it is having problems with some position reporting software and our position has not been updated since Monday. I hope that the blog web site is following us on the Google earth map; I will check it out when we arrive in Horta. We should be able to have a wireless connection from tomorrow evening and it would be great to hear from you all from Sunday onwards for the next few days, so get writing, we all want news from home!

Must away now I have an appointment with a pillow.

Best wishes and our love to you all, Mordecai, Lucien, Drew, Guy and Paul and Libertad.