Day 131, Year 6 Atlantic Passage, Day 28-Can’t Get It Right
Date: Friday, March 4, 2011 (1730 UTC)
Weather: Overcast, Squally; Winds E.ENE/ESE 10-24 knots
Air Temperature: 81 degrees F
Latitude: 11 07.400 N
Longitude: 08.30.119 W
Miles Traveled: 3721.98 + 1878 S Africa to St. Helena
Miles to Go: 201
Location: Passage from St. Helena to Caribbean (Grenada)
No matter what we do, we can’t seem to get it right. The wind speed has been going up and down, and up and down since a squall passed over about 7 am. The wind had been coming consistently from the E since Wednesday evening, but this morning it made a 30 degree shift to the N giving us ENE winds. Then it clocked back to the E and kept on going to give us ESE winds for a couple of hours. It is now back to the E but the speed keeps fluctuating making it difficult to control. The day has been totally overcast until I started writing this log. Right now for the first time today, I can see clouds with a little blue here and there and the sun is actually trying to peek through. Maybe there is hope. We have tried sailing with the headsail furled using only the main. We have centered the main and tried sailing with only the headsail. We have reefed and furled the headsail a couple of times today and in the middle of the night we were going so fast at one point that we had to reef the main. In other words, we are earning our keep here, trying to move forward–not too fast, but not too slow-in order to reach Grenada during the daylight hours on Sunday. But the conditions are making this increasingly challenging. Even the seas have not been helpful. Just when we don’t need to go faster, we now have a positive current. We’re sailing as far downwind as possible to keep anywhere near on course and in so doing, the two to three meter seas roll us from side to side. The good thing is that we still have not had to rely on the engine AND we have only two days to go, really just one full 24-hour day, plus 12 to 18 hours of the second day. Onward!
Before I end this log, I have some birthday reflections to share. First, Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law Joe. When my mother was living, she and Joe shared the same birthday. If Ollie (my mother’s name) were still living she would be 103 years old today. She died just shy of her 90th birthday and I’m sure one of the disappointments of her life was that I was so stubborn that I delayed my birth until the wee hours of the morning after her birthday. I could have been cooperative! I wonder what she would think about a daughter out here sailing around the world. She loved to read romance novels with settings in different countries around the world. Maybe she would have enjoyed this trip vicariously. I’d like to think so.