15:45 Local time, 17:45 UTZ
We are just south of a low pressure, and trying to keep below it. The wind is blowing strong, 30+ knots, but we are going well and are motor sailing with only staysail up.
It would be good to have the tri-sail up and no engine, but the wind came in very abruptly at 0430 last night and went from 5 knots to 27 knots in about 5 minutes. We were expecting it, but hoped that it would give us until daylight to get the trysail up.
Not a problem as we are going well in the right direction and it is very safe for boat and crew like this, which is most important. To put the trysail up means pointing directly into the wind to raise, and with this amount of wind and 4m waves, that would be too dangerous, with waves breaking over the boat. So safety and prudence take over and we keep going like this.
The centre of the low pressure is about 40 miles to the north and should start tracking NE soon, so we will be able to point a more direct course East, at the moment we want to stay in the southern section where the wind is high, but from the west and pushing us to where we want to go.
We hope the wind will drop by just before sunset to get more sail up, but we will wait and see on that one. Certainly it will start to go down overnight and should be rather pleasant tomorrow.
We have had a good couple of days on board, we had a light patch yesterday so we were able to get some maintenance done, and rest before this storm. We also went close to the SE island of the Azorean chain Sta Maria, we were close enough to get phone signals, so everyone on board got in touch with loved ones to let them know of progress, and have some contact with the outside world, before internet darkness for another 5 days!
At present we have 764nm to go to the Straits of Gibraltar and 1221 to go until Mallorca our ultimate destination. These are nice figures now after 11 days at sea. Ben the Chef is cooking great meals, but is frustrated at running out of fresh produce, so dried goods and imagination are the order for the next 6 days.
We have just over 3000 litres of fuel to go, so should be able to motor the whole way but a couple more days sailing will make me more relaxed.
That’s all for now, must get back out into the cold and rain, how the weather has changed the beginning of the trip. Full thermals, hats, gloves, boots and any other warm clothing found is the order of the day at the moment.
Stay safe and well out there.
Mat and the crew