Lanzarote to Grenada, day 14

Stravaig'n the Blue
Sat 23 Jan 2021 23:26
End of day 14 position: 16:54.7 N 045:24.1 W
Position timestamp: Saturday 23 Jan 2021 12:00 UTC-3
Distance travelled last 24 hours: 130 NM
Reduction in distance to destination last 24 hours: 119 NM
Distance travelled total: 2132 NM
Average speed since departure: 6.3 knots
Shortest distance to destination: 1005 NM
ETA based on shortest distance and average speed so far: the wee hours of 30 January (20.6 days in total)

The end of week two is approaching, the sun is shining, the seas have settled into a long rolling swell and yesterday morning we celebrated passing 2000 miles with mini almond and chocolate ice lollies.

In the late afternoon we had almost full cloud cover so little solar power and, with the wind dropping to the low teens, we were lacking the boat speed to turn the sea generator prop effectively. Allan got concerned enough about the autopilot draining the battery levels to suggest some night-time steering. I went out to do a pre-watch hour. It was only 7 pm, but dark already, and the wind was fairly steady in direction, but gusty. The Blue Water Runner was out to starboard in asymmetric format. As I prepared to take charge, I realised it's been a while since I've steered in the dark. (In fact, Allan later reminded me that although we've done weeks of night sailing on Stravaig, we haven't actually done any night steering, so the last time I did any was a year and a half ago.)

The autopilot had been doing a fine job. I took over - my wheel! Couldn't see the sail, the skies were pitch black and the instrument displays had been dimmed for the night and were difficult to read. I spent ten minutes slewing about: over-correcting the wheel, the sail constantly collapsing, and the boat see-sawing 40 degrees or more from side... Then, just before I got really fed up with myself, I got the hang of it. As we've discovered in our day-time helming, this enormous sail needs surprisingly delicate handling. I started holding the wheel dead centre, and just gently nudging the boat back on to the wind a few degrees at a time. All became calm and she (and I) just settled into the rhythm of the night.

All is well.