Celebrations and squalls

Night watch day 13 (Wednesday morning)

Distance sailed from Las Palmas: 2510 NM
Distance sailed from Cape Verde: 1710 NM
Distance to Grenada: 490 NM
Fish caught: 1

Picking up at Friday’s catch of fish we had Mahi mahi (guldmakrill) for dinner! We probably all agree that the catch, landing and cleaning were more fascinating than the dinner itself, but still, we caught a fish! And we entered the weekend with a sundowner and snacks on foredeck knowing that the day after we would pass the halfway mark.
We celebrated 1100nm to go with a chocolate cake with canned strawberries and ice cream, followed up by a nice sirloin steak for dinner!

As we get further west the Atlantic crossing is expected to bring more of squalls, small isolated rain and wind cells. They build up quite quickly behind us on the radar and we spent the day on Saturday trying to learn how to read how they move and judge how close we can be and still avoid the strong winds. As we are flying the parasailor we are quite cautious about not pushing the limit as it gets really hard to wrestle down the sail in 12+ m/s. All this resulted in frequent sail changes and not much rest for the crew, especially since Hanna has been down with migraine for three days (she’s back on her feet again) and we wish to be three people on reefing the sail in those conditions. We however managed to celebrate the first advent with gingerbread and blue cheese.

We have had stronger winds the last days (9-11m/s) which has given us good speed during the days but typically the winds have picked up just a little too much or a squall showed up which have forced us to fly only a reefed mainsail at night, which slows us down considerably making us move up and down like a yo-yo in the standings. But a trade off we had to make to allow the reduced crew some night rest and have energy left to entertain the kids during the days. They have been a bit more frustrated and bored the last days. It is also getting really hot which takes energy out of us all. Hence, the kids were happy when we said they were allowed to sit on the sugarscoops, tied in properly with harnesses, and have the breaking waves shower over their legs and cool them down.

Another highlight during the last days was sighting a whale swimming only 50-100 m away from the boat! Another bucket to tick off! We had seen a pilot whale before, which is more like a large dolphin, but this was a “real whale” of perhaps 15m that was blowing out air as it swam by us! Apart from a huge pod of dolphins one of the first days and the flying fish that jump along all the way we have seen much fewer sea animals than we had expected really. Surprised perhaps that there have been birds flying all the way.

Even with our slow nights we think we are still in the race for a good position amongst the multihulls (with the corrected times for yacht handicaps not visible in the YB races app) so we are really trying to make good speed. We have started calculating our expected arrival time, which most likely will be at some point on Saturday. We were really hoping to fly the parasailor throughout this night but then a squall showed up and the wind average surpassed the limit we had put up so here we are on a reefed main again.

It’s a bit of mixed feelings that we are now down to 1/4 and less than 100h to go. On one hand we are all looking forward to make landfall and the following celebrations, swims, fresh vegs etc. but at the same time it’s a unique bubble being out here on the vast Atlantic, a once (or first ;-)) in a lifetime experience that we make sure to appreciate throughout the highs and lows that the days bring.

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