Monday at sea again

St Georges harbour emptied again on Sunday as about 6 boats left for various destinations , but mainly the Azores. One boat turned back almost immediately with a failure of his GPS antenna and our hearts went out to him . We had waited for our friends on Spruce and Rapau who had taken 2 weeks to come up from the BVI’s , having spent about 5 days hove to . They looked none the worse for their ordeal , indeed I got the impression that there was a renewed confidence that came from having weathered some truly horrid conditions.

We set off in a flat calm and after 4 hours started to dribble along at 3 knots under spi. Overnight and through this morning the wind has gradually built and we are now very comfortable under 3 reefs and a No 3 , making north of the rhumb line . The classic tactics for this passage at this time of year is to position yourself between the lows to the North and the Azores/ Bermuda high which should lie along the rhumb line route. Too far North , or too deep a low and you head south into the high pressure. If the high expands and the winds drops you head north. Well , thats the theory but up til now folk going across have had fearful bashings , yet it just MIGHT be settling down a bit so perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing making that false start. We are riding on the south edge of the first low at the moment and expect the winds to go NW then N before dieing away tomorrow. Later the 2nd low should bring us South or SW winds , but its the one after that , outside the forecast range that we are interested in positioning ourselves for. I try to keep in the 20 knot corridor but of course its an inexact science and we appear to have overdone it on this first low. However , the further North we go , the better the current so its probably a good thing.

There appears to be less creaking from the rudder assembly . I tightened the stuffing box on the lower shaft bearing as well as adjusting the wheel input assembly so fingers crossed. At dawn this morning there was a new squeek. It sounded like a block seizing up but was difficult to locate. I went over the wind vane lines and blocks with a heavy heart until I looked up and saw 4 tropic birds squeeking away above me and no doubt wetting themselves at the sight of the greybeard loon getting all worked up below.
Later this morning I staggered out of my bunk to find Lynda looking puzzled , somewhat cross eyed and mumbling to herself. I was just getting worried when she looked up with a seraphic smile and said – “We are just over 1/18th of the way there!”

So if her maths is right – that is where we are – but just in case its not , greetings from us and a posse of squeeking tropic birds at 33 22 N 62 35W. All well.

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