The last 24 hours have brought 2 major milestones ( can you have milestones on the sea ˆ they sound unlikely to float so maybe they should be milebuoys?). First to go was the under 1000 mark ˆ its very encouraging to only have 3 digits on the clock . Next was 900 to go which we reckon as halfway so there will be the last Christmas pudding on the menu tonight complete with rum butter. Yummy! The reason for all this is that the wind has backed and is now blowing at 15 knots from our starboard quarter. This brings the apparent wind on the beam , takes away all thought of a kite and is the cruising sailors heaven – fast easy miles . On top of that we have swapped our mate Foul Eddie for his much more welcome cousin Fair Eddie who has pushed us along in the right direction at up to a knot for the last 12 hours with the result that the SOG is hovering around 8 knots and the longitude is counting down at a very satisfactory rate indeed. Compare that with the last few days and although we have been trickling along at a remarkable rate for the wind , it was rattly and rolly and with the foul current we were often only achieving 4.5 knots over the ground. Our last dolphin visit was different too . We have become used to the little spotted dolphins but this lot were bigger and either striped or common dolphin which of course we associate with the eastern side of the pond.

We are sailing up the North flank of the Azores high , which is due to move NE and block our path. Racing up astern is a system bringing strong Southerlies and the question is what happens when these two systems collide . Apart from the second night , the sailing has been remarkably gentle up to now and normally we would relish a blow to take us East , but with our potentially dodgy steering system we are pushing to slip round the back of the high before it arrives. We have a Swedish boat 50 NM to the North , and our Danish Viking friends 50 NM to the South and at dusk the atmosphere seems to bounce our VHF airwaves over to them so we have rather broken conversations due partly to the radio reception and partly the language barrier. Apparently Horta is so crowded that boats are having to anchor off and I wonder how many other yachts are in this patch of the ocean.The latest news on Roy in Guiding Light is that he has turned round and is heading for St Lucia, having spent the day caulking ( from the inside?) I just hope the weather holds off for him and he makes it.

Our midday is now UT +2 , and we are rushing past 37 37N 47 28 W . Our love to everyone . All well.

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