Atlantic crossing 2019, 2nd week

02-12-2019, 19º 26.032N 29º 40.678W
In the trade winds

Last night we got a couple of hours of wind above 10 knots, after that, it was a night with flapping sails and bad sleep due to all noise generated by the sails. Now we are below 20 degrees north and where the trade winds begin to blow mainly from NE and it is now around 15 knots and we begin to see larger swell. I have started to finish up the first videos from our trip down to the Canary Islands.

Routinely I make sure we always have water and power, checking the rig, doing navigation, and checking the weather to find the optimal route to Saint Lucia. We will pass ” halfway” on Thursday or so and with the current speed, we will be in Saint Lucia on the 12 of December. But that will not happen since the weather will change before that. Carina routinely makes sure we have food and she and Johan make lunch and dinner. Since I’m a coffeinist, I often make sure there is coffee in the morning and after lunch.
Today we had company by Kathryn del Fuego that fly their big red reacher together with the genoa and had done that the last three days, day and night!
During the night when the wind was light we saw them sail at least 1 knot faster than us and today when the wind increased we sailed with almost even speed.
Now it’s time to take down the bimini and make the boat ready for night sailing.
Cheers from Jonas, Carina, and Johan.

02-12-2019, 19º 17.138N 30º 01.425W
Glad we have furling sails

In a couple of minutes, the wind increased from 15 knots or so to 25 and changed direction. Then it’s good to have furling sails. We don’t need to leave the cockpit to reduce the sail area. Despite 2 reefs in the main and the genoa, we still do 7-9 knots and that’s the OK speed for us… If there was a ” cozy” noise from the waves behind the boat yesterday, today it’s a bit more intense and the sails are hard as steel plates from the wind pressure.
The latest weather forecast has a big fan blowing a steady wind towards the Caribbean for at least ten days so the rest of the trip will be something like this, a good breeze from behind day and night.
Good evening from Sally

03-12-2019, 18º 42.410N 32º 50.350W
Trade winds over 20 knots the latest 24 hours

Now Sally has started to move a bit faster over the Atlantic Ocean, think we have had an average speed of 8 knots since yesterday, which means 180 nm closer to destination. The sailing is a bit bumpy and a crossing swell causes severe rolls now and then. We have adopted the new movements during the day and always keep a firm grip on something. This kind of sailing requires more attention to the wind and sea so we don’t break something. We have a couple of light rain showers today, but only for a couple of minutes each time and only with minor wind changes. We are all fine and show no sign of seasickness even in this bumpy ride we have today and it should continue the whole way to Saint Lucia according to the weather prognosis.

03-12-2019, 18º 37.744N 33º 30.889W
A squall is catching up with us

It covers the stars and makes the night darker while it approaches us from behind. The wind is gusting to 25 knots and the radar shows that it contains rain as well, approx 2 nm wide but it passes south of us and we only got a few drops. When it has passed, the wind is back to the normal 18 knots. Then it’s time for the next squall, they have really queued up behind us tonight. Carina is resting, hopefully, she got some sleep before her watch that starts at two a clock tonight. Johan has just started his watch.
Good night!

04-12-2019, 18º 30.744N 35º 04.949W
No other boats on AIS or in sight

For the first time since the start we are alone out here, at least on the AIS and there are no while sails on the horizon. We know there are other boats out here since each boat has a YB fracker and we get position reports daily.
When can see other boats visually around 7 nm if the sun shines on the sails and around 12 nm on the AIS. It’s very hard to spot a sailing boat on our radar unless it is within a couple of nautical miles from us.
We had a couple of squalls last night and they are clearly visible as red dots on the radar. This time we got 25 to 32 knots of wind for a short period and since we always reduce sail during the night, we could just continue to follow the wind in small squalls like this one.
The waves are coming from several directions all the time and they make us roll a lot. Carina was thrown out of her bed tonight with mattress and all, after that she changed to the other bed with lee cloth. In the last 24 hours, we sailed 184 nm which is good for a fully loaded cruising boat with a small crew.

04-12-2019, 18º 29.246N 36º 24.294W
Soon less to sail than sailed

Each morning there are one or more dead flying fishes on the deck. They never hit the boat in daylight so I think they can see something when above water and control where to go. Tomorrow we will pass the waypoint named Halfway on our plotter. I Think Carina has prepared something to celebrate it. Now we have less wind than yesterday which is good, but the swell coming from the north causes severe roll when a train of swell passes by every 30 seconds or so. When thinking about it, there is always something that is not perfect when sailing, too light wind, too hard wind, wind from the wrong direction, waves or swell from the wrong direction, the sun is behind the sails, it is too hot, its too cold, wrong boat for this kind of sailing, the list can be made long, very long. Even if the sailing isn’t perfect, we still love sailing. That says something about sailing or sailors, doesn’t it?

04-12-2019, 18º 27.649N 36º 30.398W
6 km of water below the keel

6000 meters of depth where we are now, must be some of the deepest parts of the Atlantic. If possible to jump in the water tomorrow, I must do it, just feel how it is with 6 km of water below my naked feet…

05-12-2019, 18º 15.694N 37º 25.063W
Sunrise in new time zone

Just now we sail into GMT-3 so today we shall turn back our clocks one hour. It has been another rolly night with downwind sailing and we now only have 28 nm left to the halfway mark and we will pass it 4 hours or so. While writing, the horizon in the east has become considerably lighter and soon I will see the sunrise behind the clouds. At these latitudes there always are clouds at the horizon, but not above where you are.

05-12-2019, 18º 04.662N 38º 01.029W
Half way over the Atlantic Ocean

Just celebrated that we have sailed halfway over the Atlantic Ocean with a small taste of Caribbean rum, yummy. Cheers from Jonas and Carina, Johan was asleep when we passed so he missed the celebration.

05-12-2019, 17º 52.645N 39º 02.647W
Whisker pole in the water

Tonight we have our first incident, the snap shackle to the uphaul on the whisker pole opened and the pole fell down with one end in the water. At the moment we did 7 knots and the pole was pushing back on the forward lower shroud. After a couple of stressful minutes, we get it up from the water and released the pressure on the shroud. Now we are back on track again and we also know why the snap shackle opened. The pin that secures the shackle has a small key ring used as a stopper, think it’s standard on most of these kinds of snap shackles. One end of the wire in the ring has fastened in the unused genoa sheet that runs over the end of the boom and the sheet finally opened the snap shackle.
Lessons learned, put tape on every sprint with a locking ring that can be stuck in a rope like this, and don’t run a rope where there is a snap shackle that can be opened by mistake.

06-12-2019, 17º 44.662N 40º 53.354W
Waves from all directions

at least it feels so when the boat is hit by waves from both sides and roll, roll, roll, and roll. It’s like living on a theme park attraction with variable and unpredictable g-forces, crazy it is.
Last night we had some rain and 30-knot gusts from a couple of squalls. We had to gybe and change sails a couple of times and finally, we were so tired that we sailed only with the jib on the inner forestay. It was not the fastest sail, but we could use it with only one person awake. Now we have changed to the genoa, still a bit slow, but no flapping and we can use it in wind up to 25 knots and still handle it with one person. Easy to gybe with, no preventer to take care of, no whisker pole to wrestle down on a rolling foredeck. We shall be able to live like this for almost a week before the wind decreases.
Tomorrow we have been promised dense fog and I don’t look forward to it, but it should be interesting to see how it is to deal with the nightly squalls in dense fog.
Today we have one of the stews that Johan prepared in Las Palmas served with rice and a salad, yummy. I will make sure we get some coffee now.
Over and out
From Sally

07-12-17º 21.121N 43º 51.272W
Day after day over an ocean

On my watch last night, the moon was very bright and it gave shadows in the cockpit. When a squall was closing in from behind the boat, it looked as if there was a moon rainbow in the squall. When in Saint Lucia I will check if it’s possible.
Today was a squally day with a squall each hour or so and we have used the radar to try to see how intense they are and which track they will take. We got some rain and a lot of wind in some of them, 35.9 knots of wind and 12.6 knots of speed in a surf. It’s a great feeling when the wind and a wave push Sally forward.
We have tried reaching (wind from behind but from either side) to reduce the rolls and sail flapping. It works good but the speed did not increase to cover for the longer distance we sail. Today Carina decided that it would be nice to be in Saint Lucia before 17.00 next Friday, so back to rolly sailing straight to Saint Lucia 😉 Maybe we stand the rolls for tonight and will be back reaching tomorrow.
Good night

Finally the moon is visible on my watch

Each night the moon has disappeared behind the horizon before my watch has started 02.00. It has been pitch black, and no difference between the sea and the heaven, all is just black. But tonight the moon is up, what a difference. You can see the waves on the ocean, the horizon, and a lighter sky. The stars are visible, no squalls in sight and the moon straight ahead gives us a glittering moon street to follow. The waves are moderate, the temperature is 25.7. Some nights are better than others

08-12-2019, 16º 57.920N 46º 43.604W
Squalls, sun, wind and advent

This morning we get a series of refreshing squalls followed by a blue sunny sky and a wind that was stabilized around SSE and 18 knots. So first a lot of reefing, gybing, and unfurling. After that, we have been reaching or sailing wing on wing on our route to Saint Lucia. Today’s position report showed that a couple of boats has arrived in Saint Lucia, while we still have 850 nm to sail. We enjoy the time onboard and today we were visited by a group of dolphins. We also catch more flying fish on the deck, think we soon will look and smell like a fishing boat :slight_smile:
The food is still super good and today’s lunch was a tortilla with a zucchini curry and pickled onions. For dinner, we had meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam and peaches with whipped cream as dessert. No other boats in sight this day.

08-12-2019, 16º 55.025N 47º 02.062W
Colorful star in South east

This is the second night we see a colorful star 130 degrees from our position. It looks like an airplane with white and red blinking lights, when looking at it with binoculars it also has blue light visible. Probably just some atmospheric phenomenon, but, if not, what can it then be?

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