Day 4, Guernsey to Lanzarote

Stravaig'n the Blue
Mon 12 Oct 2020 15:49
Position: 43.20.19 N 010.39.92 W (West of Cabo Finisterre TSS, 62 NM from the closest coastline at Cabo Toriñana)
Timestamp: Monday 12th October 2020  11:00 BST (UTC+1)
Distance travelled last 24 hours: 138 NM
Distance travelled total: 542 NM
Average speed: 6.30 knots
Distance to destination (Arrecife): 878 NM

Yet another uneventful 24 hours but with only reasonable progress being made.  This was down to winds in the low teens for much of the time resulting in only 138 NM travelled vs 159 and 156 on the two previous days.

The decision to not gybe at the dog’s knee and continue SSW on starboard seems to have paid off.  The wind did drop but not nearly as much as it was forecast to had we gybed on to port and headed SSE directly to Cabo Finisterre. Further, the wind backed overnight from N to NNW which brought us from a SSW heading to directly south. The autopilot is in wind mode so it detects the wind changes and alters course automatically. Brilliant and no need to try to re-trim the sails in the dark.

Continuing SSW / S also meant not needing to recross the main shipping lanes. What a difference that made. Instead of having 20 or so big ships on the chart plotter and having to duck and weave between them there were no ships whatsoever within a 32 mile radius for most of the hours of darkness. That’s 3,000 square miles of ocean with only us in it!

As mentioned yesterday, the only slight down side to taking the offshore route is that we have missed out on getting a 4G mobile signal that would provide a much faster connection to the digital world than we have with our satellite phone. To compensate we are going to head inshore between Peniche and Cabo da Roca, about half way down the Portuguese where the land juts out into the Atlantic just before Lisbon. When we passed Madeira on the way to Guernsey in April we managed to pick up a good enough 4G signal when 15 miles off. We expect to get there very late tomorrow night.

The forecast for the next three days is showing F5 winds from the north, F6 when we go inshore. With the winds being strong but steady we have furled our main headsail, the Solent, and deployed one of our two downwind sails, our Furlström. At 116 sq m the Furlström is 2.5 times the size of the Solent so our speed has picked up quite a bit, touching 9 knots from time to time. Visibility this morning was poor but now the sun is shining again.

All is well.