Nth Atlantic – Azores to Ireland, 8 July 2017

The grib files for this area haven’t been as reliable as previous voyages. The North Atlantic weather patterns are more changeable than say the South Atlantic, as they are influenced by weather coming across from the U.S. and along the Gulf Stream. We have no idea what weather is happening outside the scope of our voyage – usually a 500nm radius is all we need. Historically though the weather at this time of year should improve with less gales than other times of the year.

Cargo ship half a mile ahead. He altered course to pass ahead.

Blue Heeler maintains course while keeping out of path of ships

Thursday had us motor-sailing again as winds dropped to less than 10kn from the west. By afternoon with wind dropping further to a paltry 4kn, we furled the sails and motored. At this point the blanket of fog crept in reducing visibility to a mile or so. Not such a problem nowadays with AIS and radar seeing what our eyes can’t see, but it still pays to be vigilant. Radars don’t pick up whales or weather buoys, and AIS doesn’t pick up vessels with no AIS! The rest of our trip should be light winds and seas less than 1.5m. By 3am Friday we had the sails winged out and engine off. A good day with unexpected 12-15kn westerly winds giving us a good boost towards our destination.

So happy with our cockpit curtains! They keep the cold and rain outside, leaving us to enjoy sailing in relative comfort. We haven’t yet had to wear the wet-weather gear, but that will change I’m sure!

I’m writing this at 2.30am on Saturday morning and it’s chilly with the sea water temperature now down to 17degC. With 12kn from the NW and flat seas we are moving along at a good rate. Unlikely to arrive Sunday night, and may have to slow down a tad to arrive in daylight on Monday morning. Despite an 80% moon, the low cloud diffuses much of the glow so that’s a shame. Our clocks are now on UK summer time (UTC+1), now sunset is around 11pm and sunrise around 6.30am so it won’t be long before daybreak and a hot chocolate. Maybe a bowl of porridge too!

Our position is: 48*45N 14*25W at 0130UTC
Distance to go: 254nm

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Sailing around the world aboard Blue Heeler
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