So Close . . .
Course: North west Speed: 3.5 knot
Wind: North nor' east, F2 light breeze
Sea: slight Swell: North nor' east 1 meter
Weather: sunny, hot and humid
Day’s run: 60 nm sailed 40 nm made good
We continue our crawl towards the equator, now only a spit to the north, and in a few hours we shall be over the line. For much of yesterday afternoon we imperceptibly drifted in the right direction making the most of the light air with the drifter. Come evening the wind freshened a little, enough to set the mainsail without it flogging back and forth in the long gentle swell. At ten the near full moon sat close over thickening cloud and an ominously black horizon. It felt like we were sailing into a hole in the cosmos, the Stygian darkness, the moon beckoning us on. In preparation of what must lie ahead, I dropped the drifter and set the jib.
A little after eleven the rain began to fall and the wind to blow. Sylph leaned over and accelerated to six knots. I hung onto full sail for close to an hour, and stood with my back to the wind enjoying the heavy cool splattering drops of rain on my hot skin. At midnight I thought it wise to reduce sail a little but no sooner had I done so then the wind started to ease. I set full sail again but by three Sylph was rolling and flogging her sails in the short residual sea. I dropped sail and retired below, refreshed and pleased that we had made a few more miles.
When I resurfaced the day was bright and clear, with only a few scattered small cumulus, some high cirrus, and not a thunderhead in sight. We might not be across the equator yet, I thought, but at least it looks like we are at last leaving the doldrums behind. A light easterly was holding the flag out straight, and the ripples on the water told me there was enough wind to set some sail. Since then we have been sailing close hauled on the starboard tack, not quite making our desired course but closing the line nonetheless. Just a few more hours . . .
All is well.