The final GRIB file we downloaded before we left St Maarten – a broad picture of what we could expect over the following ten days. The small red dot indicates our position at that date/time. Unfortunately the easterly winds we expected at the start were more north-easterly, which meant we sailed further to the west as we’d liked, adding another 100nm to our overall journey. This 100nm would make a difference as we approached the end of the journey.
It’s so nice to be away from the sounds of St Maarten: the vibrating buzz of low flying aircraft, the doof-doof music from nearby nightclubs and the constant VHF chatter! Once again the deep indigo ocean extends to all horizons as we gently ride the slight swells on our way to another land. The sky is opaque like a steamed up mirror, with glimpses of blue sky showing through. It’s quite warm – 30degC in the saloon – and all is well aboard. We are making slow but steady progress in the light conditions.
Here’s the diary so far:
Day one: Saturday 20th May 2017
We left St Maarten mid morning on Saturday 20th May and headed to the west of the island then sailed on a northerly course. Unfortunately the forecast easterly winds were in fact light north easterly winds which meant we sailed close to the wind and travelled further west than we would’ve liked.
Behind us is the US yacht “Inishnee” and Aussie Mark aboard “Sealife”. Winds are generally 7-10kn from the northeast, our course over ground is 340deg.
Day two: Sunday 21st May 2017
Despite the calm winds, we managed to clock over 100nm the first 24 hours, but still heading further west rather than north. Ideally this leg of the trip should be northerly as far up as possible (up towards Bermuda) to catch the westerly winds from passing lows.
At 1100UTC I opened the SSB net for the small group of boats heading to the Azores. I can only hear a couple of them, but managed to get everyone’s positions through relay and later by Satphone SMS.
Had to run the engine today through a calm patch so decided to make water while we motor-sailed along. We have three weeks of sailing ahead so we have to use our diesel wisely.
Winds today same as yesterday, although a little lighter for a few hours. Still heading west but hope that changes on Monday.
Day three: Monday 22nd May 2018
Happy Birthday to my brother Mick! Today we expect much of the same weather and fingers crossed we may get some south in the wind to guide us onto a more northerly course. We’ve settled quite quickly into our four hourly watches, no doubt due to the light conditions.
Latest position: Direct distance to Azores: 2110nm
Date/time(UTC)/position: Monday 22nd May 2017 / 1030UTC / 21deg02min N 063deg59min W.