Homeward bound

Close , but no cigar
Yesterdays challenge was to cross a ridge of high pressure into the Northerly winds on the other side that would take us reaching in to South Brittany. With this in mind we were much quicker than usual to pile on sail after the previous nights blow but despite splendid progress the wind died at midnight leaving us crashing around in the leftover waves and going nowhere. This morning we have a very light and variable Southerly which , as it is on the beam , is giving us fair progress , but we think we are on the wrong side of the ridge so it is likely to peter out again soon as we sail in to it again. There is a small high over the Scillies , extending South to us with little in the way of wind to take us home . The good news however is that this same system should give Ben and Steph a nice Northerly to cross the Channel and kick start their holiday cruise.
Ocean sailing must have been so much more difficult before accurate forecasts were available . Today , if the barometer is falling and the wind building , we have a fairly good idea of what is coming and can reduce sail in advance of the s#*t hitting the fan , or even turn round and go the other way to avoid the worst of it. Until fairly recently a boat in the same situation would have no idea if they were in for a good hard , but safe , blow that they can use to their advantage – or if it would turn in to a dangerous storm. Then again they didn’t have self steering and would have to spend hours on end at the tiller in all weathers instead of ducking inside into shelter when the going is rough or cold. We definitely have it easy these days!
Not so the fish ! We are back in factory fishing seas. Last night we had to avoid 3 enormous fishing boats no doubt hoovering up all life below us. There are still whales and dolphins about but at 250 miles from land it seems the fishes start to get a hard time. On Festina the yellow flag has been lowered as most of the crew are fighting fit and the 3rd one is still eating for Britain so must be on the mend. Sailing with 3 is really very relaxing with none of that feeling of exhaustion that comes before you get into the instant sleep pattern of 2 handed sailing. The only drawback is that you need many more books , but it looks as if our library will hold out the 2 or 3 days that we need to get in .Where we will go is still a mystery , but today’s grib file and tonight’s wind should make it clear. Unless we get a SE wind ,my money is between Belle Isle and the Glenan’s .
At noon our position is 46 40 N 10 03 W, 250 miles from land and 150 from the continental shelf which I am looking forward to crossing as it will be interesting to see waht difference it makes.
All well.

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