Bermuda to Faial. Day 2

Ocean Gem
Geoff & Eileen Mander
Fri 19 May 2017 19:25
Date: Friday 19th May 2017
Time: 20:26
Position: 35:44.748N 60:55.624W
Distance to Faial: 1,544NM

Thursday morning we had a gentle breeze and we were able to sail under full main and cruising chute in a general northeasterly direction looking for stronger winds. By late morning the wind had dropped and we started motoring again. This pattern of some motoring and some sailing persisted until about 8:00pm when the wind filled in from the west. We decided to pole out the jib and run wing and wind towards Faial. The wind was gentle, between 10 and 14 knots so we were moving relatively slowly. But we still had a strong counter current meaning that our speed over the ground was averaging about 3.5knots. It was all very frustrating.

We continued like this overnight. None of us got much sleep. Apart from the rolling motion resulting from running dead downwind the light winds were insufficient to keep the main properly filled. As the boat rolled the main back filled and the sail battens made a loud crack as they inverted the camber. A few seconds later the main would fall back into its normal position, and the battens returning to their former position would cause the rig to vibrate.

However by Friday morning the sun was shining and I was delighted to see that our counter current had reduced quite a lot. But the wind was also starting to fail us again. I consulted Chris Parker and he told me that if we continued northwards we would find that the counter current would continue to reduce and would eventually turn in our favour. So the best part of the rest of day was spend sailing NEwards again under cruising chute looking for stronger winds and weaker currents.

By 6:00pm the wind had increased to around 18knots from about WSW and the current was weak, so we dropped the cruising chute, poled out the jib, resumed sailing wing and wing and for the first time since leaving Bermuda found ourselves sailing directly towards Faial at a respectable speed.

As we dropped the cruising chute the cotter pin holding the fitting at the foot of the sail to the furling mechanism fell out and by a stroke of luck landed on deck. As the foot of the sail is attached to the end of a short bowsprit that sits over the water it's a small miracle that this pin didn't just drop into the water, and even more so that it didn't detach itself whilst we were sailing with potentially damaging consequences.