Day 89, Year 6 Passage to St. Helena, Day 4 Happy Fourth Birthday to SAM!
Date: Friday, January 21, 2011, 1445 UTC
Weather: Overcast, then Sunny; Winds SE 25-30+
Temperature: Water 64 degrees F; Air 68 degrees F
Latitude: 30 24.335 S
Longitude: 10 53.169 E
Miles Traveled: 503.14
Miles to Go: 1267
Location: Passage from South Africa to St. Helena

Today is our first born grandchild’s 4th birthday. We flew home from New Zealand for Sam’s birth and we were home visiting from Australia for his first birthday. Sam, Heather, and Jed were in Thailand for his 2nd birthday and we went for a ride on the local elephants as a celebration. We were on the sixth day of our passage from Thailand to India on January 21 last year and now we are on the fourth day of our passage across the Atlantic headed home. When I write it like this, it does seem like four years, but when I think about wee little Sam when we first saw him in the hospital in Falmouth four years ago, I just can’t believe he is already 4 years-old. The main reason we are rushing to get home is so we can see those grandbabies more often. We don’t want them to grow up not knowing us. Sam has seen us enough to really know who we are, but Jonah and Ziggy haven’t because we were so far away this past year and couldn’t get home. We’re on our way, guys. And Sam, we hope you have a wonderful birthday with family today and at your party with friends tomorrow. Our daughter Heather wrote that he had his birthday party at preschool yesterday and quite enjoyed sitting in the special chair and having everyone sing to him. But more than that, we liked having cupcakes for snack! Sam, we might be 8,000 miles away, but we are with you in spirit. Have an extra piece of cake for us. Happy Birthday!

I wish I had good news to report on the weather front, but we have had no change and now are not expecting a change until sometime on the 23rd. So we have at least two more days and nights of this windy weather. We have been sailing with a double-reefed main and only a tiny triangle of the headsail out most of the time, and we are still averaging over 6 knots. So the good thing still is that we are making great time. The bad thing is that it is cold and wet and uncomfortable and we feel like we are in a Mix Master. The ugly thing is that everything is covered in salt water. We get waves once in a while crashing into us broadsided and sending water over the top of the dodger and into the cockpit. We are protected by the plastic enclosure on the front and sides, but we didn’t put up the plastic curtains across the back. So far Mark and I have stayed dry, but the cockpit cushions haven’t fared as well. We’re just hoping that this ends on Sunday and that the last half of the passage is little smoother.

In the middle of writing this log, we made some changes. We just rolled up the head sail and put out a double-reefed stay sail in its place and the ride seems smoother. Right now we are in a period of 30-35 knot winds and even with just the reefed stay sail we are averaging 7 knots. It also started raining and blowing in from the back so we dug out the back curtains and put them up. Now things are calmer and drier. Duh . . . Why didn’t we do this two days ago?