Through the Azores

16 Feb

Yesterday we had a long fast run toward the Azores. Finally deciding on common sense to go straight for France when we could, rather than follow the routing north, we made many miles toward the finish. Curiously, I had aimed at Faial in the Azores as a target way back near the equator. It seems approximately the southerly limit of the storm tracks, and the northern limit of the Azores high light winds.

En route east, in the middle of the night, we had the AIS alarm go off, a ship nearly dead ahead heading at us from 20 miles away and making 21.5 knots. As we were making 15-17 knots, we had closing speeds more than 35 knots. We were downwind, and couldn’t turn to port any, and if we turned to starboard, we could do that a little but not more than maybe 15 degrees before I would have to roll up the fractional gennaker, a big job.

I called on VHF to the ship, the Maersk Missouri, a containership, and had a nice conversation with the captain who easily agreed to turn to starboard a few degrees to give us more of a margin. We then chatted about the Vendée Globe (I said I was 100 days at sea, he said he was 70 days at sea on his shift of 3 months). They were from Le Havre for Horta for Newark, New Jersey, and were this far south of their normal track because of the storm to the northwest which had 13 meter seas in it, and the did not want any part of that.

This morning, after some indecision about which side of the group of central Azores islands, I opted for north, to get closer to more wind, where the south route would offer much lighter breeze. Once on that track, I then pondered whether we should go between Faial and Pico. In that slot is Horta, the main port, and Horta had played a role in our Vendée Globe. On our first transatlantic with this boat, UK to USA, I sailed UK to Horta with Graham Tourell (aka Gringo) for training and coaching. And on the route back US to UK, I went solo US to Horta where we picked up Dee Caffari for further training and coaching en route to Southampton. The harbormaster there, Armando, had been hugely helpful in ferrying Gringo off and Dee on as we went by. I thought it would be a nice gesture to sail through there and call and thank Armando again. Yet the winds did not permit us to get there, so we made the passage north around Faial and are now heading again east.

Position
39° 28’N x 28° 13’W
Course
044° True
Speed
10.9 knots
Log
27,983nm
True Wind Speed
14 knots
True Wind Direction
276°
Sails (click for diagram)
Mainsail (1 reef), Fractional Gennaker
Air Temperature
70°F / 21.1°C
Sea Temperature
63°F / 17.2°C

Winch Pedestal Revolutions (daily) Amp Hours: Alternator (total) Amp Hours: Solar (total) Amp Hours: Hydro (total) Amp Hours: Wind (total)
5936 2451 26,111 3814

This article was syndicated from Ship’s Logs | sitesALIVE!

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