To Azores Day 23

Wednesday August 16 Day 23… 323.8nm to Horta. We traveled 91.3nm in the last 24 hours blowing our 72nm average out of the water…so to speak. Did a full inspection of the rig and she looks good. Despite the stresses we’ve been pretty gentle on this leg. The Yankee roller furling needs repairs again…same problem as last time. The seas kicked up on Dena’s long overnight watch last night. And she dropped that second reef sometime in the night…I was not awake for that. 1581.1nm out of Bermuda, I don’t miss it a bit. James’ 1-4 watch 1:14 pm: It’s that time again! Or, it’s a new longitude again. We’ve gone more than 1500 nautical miles (the last 24 hours, we made 91 miles which is good for us) and so it’s time to do the last round of advancing the clocks. We should now be on Azorean summer time. We’re almost down to 300 NM remaining, and it’s a 4-6 day trip now. It really does feel like we’re approaching something. Partly because the first of the islands is a hundred miles closer and partly because we expect to start seeing fishing vessels. In another day or two, we’ll have to return to a higher level of vigilance. We’re going almost directly downwind and the waves are causing a certain amount of havoc. We’ll be lined up for a few and then get a couple that toss us back and forth as they pass. This isn’t anyone’s favorite way to sail, especially Beluga Greyfinger. James’ overnight watch The winds kicked up overnight making my long watch very, very long. The sky was perfectly clear for most of the night with lots of the usual satellites and meteor action but the seas are still in the 18-25ft range…fuck that! 8:16[…]

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To Azores Day 22

Tuesday August 15 Day 22 and all is well! The winds are fair and seas are kicked up but fun…sailing in the middle of the Atlantic flow is cool. 8:58 pm: I wrote a few emails today. They won’t go anywhere until we have signal, but it felt good to reach out. A while back, James said there was a single long-tail Bermudian that circled the boat and left. It didn’t occur to me in the moment that it could be the last of those birds we’d see, but it was. I feel like I missed out.

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To Azores Day 21

Monday August 14 Day 21 to Horta which is 456.7nm away from us right now… 1435nm away from Bermuda. Crawling along at the pace the world around us decides our pace to be. We drag those imaginary knees over the waves of blue super-highways that never end…not even the horizon can stop them. They must want to go on forever… they certainly seem like the do… And now motor-sailing on glass in the middle of the Atlantic flow. The long overnight gave me an unobstructed and perfectly clear view of our local arm of the Milky Way galaxy from horizon to horizon. Not even a distance ship to pollute that light and it split the sky with the glow of a million, million suns. Tuesday August 15 James’ overnight watch 7:48 am: I’m (Dena) not sleeping quite as much as I was when we started this overnight watch thing. It still feels decadent to go to bed knowing that I won’t have to do anything else unless something out of ordinary happens.

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To Azores Day 17

Thursday August 10 Still becalmed in the great Atlantic flow, 15,404 feet of the bluest water one could imagine directly under us. Marathon, FL. 2061nm Lake Sylvia, Fk. Lauderdale, FL. 1970nm Convicts Bay, Bermuda.1069nm We broke all of our previous offshore sailing records…San Francisco to The Big Island of Hawaii was 2040nm. Today we are 21nm farther out to sea from our starting point than we’ve ever been before. James’ 1-4 pm watch 1:31 pm: I (Dena) did it! I went swimming underway in the ocean! It was colder than I expected and so salty. I enjoyed being all the way immersed and rubbed myself down with a washcloth. Ahhh, my skin is so happy! We were still moving, and I won’t do that again. It’s not that easy to hold onto the ladder and scrub myself clean while the water is really flowing. I’ve done plenty of swimming in currents as strong while at anchor but, without the dinghy behind and in the middle of nowhere, the consequences of something going wrong seem more dire. James watched over me, boat pole in hand in case any largish fish decided to check me out. We have a few little ones that have adopted our shade, but they didn’t get within a foot of me. James’ 5-6 pm watch Dena went for a swim but the wind kicked up so we sailing shortly thereafter…it died again so we tucked the second reef down and watched the verse breath…in and out…up and down…over and over again. The wind came up around 4pm and the sailing got good! Dena’s 6-7 pm watch 6:14 pm: We have been sailing east-northeast with double-reefed main and 100% yankee since the wind came up. We’re doing a lot of 3 knot moments and it feels comfortable…too comfortable[…]

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To Azores Day 16

Wednesday August 9 Day 16 under the bluest sky’s you’ve ever seen…incredible! 1112.0nm traveled, 741 to go on this leg. 26.8nnm traveled in 24 hours…738.4nm to go meaning…we went 26nm to go 3nm in the right direction…that’s a new slowest record for us. James’ 6-7 pm watch 6:14 pm: James just made us a can of macnchz doctored up with pesto and bacn bits. We’d usually buff up that kind of meal with a sandwich but we ate the last of the bread a few days back and the last of the eggs before that. Actually, we have 4 more hard-boiled eggs for storm eating or to put in curries, but no regular ones. We definitely need more than 2 loaves of bread next time, but we didn’t realize we wouldn’t be able to get English muffins or pita. More bread products in general, and if something molds, it will feed the fishes. In cool water, we can also start with more than 18 eggs. There’s a lot of space under the stove against the hull, but it’s no good for eggs while in the Gulf Stream. More eggs and more room in the fridge is a big upside to being north! We’ve been out of fresh veggies for over a week and that’s fine. The last of the garlic fell in the sink and got drenched. We drank the last of the expensive apple juice yesterday but still have one each orange and cran-pom. We’re good on chips and trail mix. Lots of rice. Canned goods too. Beans, canned fruit, chili, ravioli, tomato soup, olives, mushrooms… The only trouble is that almost all our meals from here on out have to be assembled. For example, I can make a coconut curry, but that’s a bare minimum of 4 ingredients[…]

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To Azores Day 11

Friday August 4 Dena’s noon shift Day 11…just as another storm creeps over the western horizon, gray curls of claws out with a banshee moan. Yeah, yeah I know this one. The rain on deck is a washing we desperately need…so that’s what we get. We did 73.8nm in the last 24 hours and it’s weird that that seems fast. We’ve come 773.2nm and we have 1048nm to got to Horta. 12:06 pm: A storm is reaching us just now and it was led by a wind increase. Not too bad, but James rolled in about 20% of the yankee and adjusted our course perpendicular to the storm line. That’ll give us the least possible amount of time inside. We’re both dressed for weather just in case, but we’re sitting it out belowdecks, doing the work of managing the tension. James’ overnight watch: My home is a massive living thing… !!!Slap!!! We just took a crazy rogue. My body hurts all over like it’s reacting to a major barometric change…our weems and plath says no…we think it’s a broken piece of shit. Pissy rain and flukey winds rule the day. What appeared to be a clear beautiful sunset just turned into another storm cell. Tonight is my first 12 hour overnight watch. Saturday August 5 2am: the moon was brilliant next to the lightning from abaft…the rains never came and I’m okay with that. Then, of course, the sun rose and the Ocean was brand new. James’ 10-11 am watch 10:27 am: The storm we prepped for did come, but not with a fury. We had rain all afternoon and then a brief clearing around sunset. It’s been on and off since then. We read a lot. I (Dena) worked on Shriving for a few hours. It felt like any[…]

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To Azores Day 10

Thursday August 3 Day 10 to Horta, farther east than I’ve ever sailed… 699.4nm in and 1117nm to Horta 1:29 pm: Charlie Echo Tango Alpha Charlie Echo Alpha is an incredible sailing vessel. We (Beluga Greyfinger, Dena and I) are all gravitationally inclined (huddled down below decks) to starboard. Cetacea does the rest…all I can do is trust the work we’ve done. Below decks on S/VSN-E Cetacea…full-on storm (F-8ish) abovedecks…Dena and I hanging with the cat talking about…us, stuff down below. We live here. …And this shit is hard. We don’t actually go out of our way for the hard bits but is sure nice to see our hard work make those bits a little easier on us. Dena’s first overnight watch, 9pm to 9am 9:10pm: We’re trying a new thing. With the weather we’ve been having, there’s not much to do on watch. Even the supervisory aspect is just not that demanding. We’re going to take a page out of the singlehanders’ book and do more sleeping on watch. We’re also going to trade off entire nights. I’m first. So tonight I have the AIS alarm to let me know if anyone is within a half hour of getting within 2 miles. I’ll set the alarm on my phone for an hour each time and do my general checks…course, vessels, Lovebot, look around for anomalies. That’ll still be more sleep than most nights, and James will be totally off, barring the kind of situation that requires us both. I’ll wake him to back me up if I need to go forward to reef, for example. That’s not an issue tonight…we’re reaching under 60% yankee alone. So yeah. It’s an experiment. Now’s the time! August 4 Friday August 4 7:53 am: Almost 8 and I’d say the experiment is a[…]

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