To Azores Day 15

Tuesday August 8

Day 15 to the Azores and I’m (James) sad that I’m so incapacitated that I can’t even cook…the seas are still huge from yesterday’s gales and it seems we have another set bearing down on us from the NW now. I tried to cook and got thrown out of the galley by a wave. I truly hate this galley.

This morning’s sunshine did dry some things out but we have a long way to go and not many dry things left.

We past 1000nm last night in the storm…there’s no celebrating any of this for me right now.

James’ 5-6 pm watch

It’s getting nicer still and the waves are mild enough to bring them around towards the bow so we can broad reach. The wind is gentle enough to fly the single-reefed main and full yankee.

It’s a terrific relief, but the real peace of mind came from fixing Lovebot’s chafing control line this morning. It had eaten through the cover of the double braid line and I (Dena) was worried it would chafe through the core before the waves got easier to work around. Nope. Fixed with very little effort compared to how hard I worked worrying about it.

Dena’s 8-9 pm watch

8:26 pm: We crossed the thousand nautical mile mark, hooray! Yesterday was the halfway point and today is the second time zone change. Just racking up those reasons to celebrate.

I (Dena) made clam dip. It was good.

The wind came up in the late afternoon and we were reaching under main and yankee. I felt lighter and easier, though it was a more exciting ride. I loved feeling like we were getting somewhere. First time on this trip I’ve felt like that. It probably has something to do with the frustration of going slow in a gale.

We did the right thing letting that gale pass us. If we had squeezed every bit of energy from those winds, we could have extended our time in them. I guess, theoretically, it sounds good to have strong winds and go fast for longer, but that kind of sailing is hard on the equipment and on the human and non-human family aboard.

I’d rather take 15 knots and go 5-6 knots like we’re doing right now. Even this won’t last until dark. We’ll roll the yankee in or drop the main before sunset so it’s easier for James to cope on his overnight watch. It’s my turn to get a full night’s sleep.

Wednesday August 9

James’ overnight watch:

The bio-luminescent critters are going off! We’re clipping along a 4.4-5.6 knots under double reefed mainsail, full staysail and yankee. Cetacea’s balanced and seems content…just pulled in the staysail for a nicer ride.

A waning crescent after midnight welcomed a freshening breeze but little reprieve from the NW swell.

Dena’s 11am-noon watch

11:30 am: We opted to put the second reef in the main before dark and all the rest of the night is James’ story to tell, as far as sailing the boat goes. He didn’t need me at all.

He did turn up into the wind and that meant I was being bounced against the side of the bunk we’ve been using to stash stuff like computers and the cat’s scratching post. Not the most comfortable I could be. I ended up lying sideways with my head upwind for quite a bit of the night. Slept right up to 9am, which is astounding. Almost 12 hours in bed..with some disturbance but that’s still a hell of a lot of sleep!

Now we’re on a beam reach in about 8 knots of northerly wind, maybe 10 or 12 in the gusts. It feels strong and it’s not terribly slow, so I’m satisfied. The sun is shining, the water is gorgeous in its blue poetics, and my body is just fine, thank you.

It’s a beautiful day and I’m sensitized to enjoy it by those difficult storm days. Sitting in the cockpit is a joy. Not too hot because of the cool north wind; not too cold because of the strong clear sun. The motion of the boat isn’t taxing (though that’s partly because I’m hardened to it finally) and I have a couple of yummy meals in mind for the day.


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