Oct. 24th, Position: 31°10.907N/012°47.826W
We’re 5 days at sea now since we left Lagos. All is fine and we are having a great time. Andy is teaching how to cook. Andy is really a fantastic cook and since he’ll be flying home soon, now is the time to share his experience. As posted earlier, we had to change our plan of destination because of the low that was coming in from the Azores. The best course was going South. That way we would be on the best side of the depression. That course was directly heading for the Canaries. We waited until the evening to decide whether we would keep this course or tack to get to Madeira.
When I downloaded new gribfiles it showed that we would have to steer directly into the depression if we would tack to get to Madeira so we decided to keep our course to the Canaries. However, there was a secondary low developing rather quickly that wasn’t om the gribfiles yet. When the wind kept picking up I downloaded a new file and that showed a SW wind increasing to 30 kts. Still this was the best course to steer; you don’t want to go West into the northern section of a depression. East was the direction the depression itself was heading and North would take us to the primary depression. And, after all, South is the best option if you can stay East of the center. We just made it to stay East of the center but came really close. The barometer stayed just 1 millibar over the lowest on the gribfiles. The wind picked up to 45 kts. But, with the second reef in the main and the staysail ½ furled in, the boat was in perfect balance and so we sailed close reach into the night.
Dinner was changed to noodles, cooking was no real option anymore. At day break the wind had decreased to 40 kts. with a spectacular sea state. Good thing that you can’t see the waves at night. Beating a force 9/10 in the Atlantic was originally not in the plan but nonetheless quite an experience. I changed the watch system back to 4 on 4 off with Rutgers watch overlapping the last half of Andy’s and the first half of my watch every other watch. I slept on the floor of the saloon, stand by at all times. We managed very well apart from the moments you’d wish someone could turn off the wind for a moment. It’s not really the wind itself, it’s the mostly the noise. Apart from that we were totally okay.