06.06 Day 12
Started and ended calm, but with some good sailing for a while, up to 6knots! Not seen that kind of speed so far on this voyage.
The beautiful birdbird-bird (long slim tail, as a long whip, white with distinct black pattern) tries restlessly to land on the boat; with long well calculated approaches from behind with the unfortunate outcome every time that there is no place to land if you have flat feet. I’ve not seen them land in the water so far, and when thinking about the fact that we are 550nm to nearest coast (990km) these guys must long for a place to rest!
Trying to introduce some exercise routines and yoga, but the motivation isn`t great. It does help on the energy and mood though. A bit flat after a week of grey moist weather and barely any wind.
The problem with the cooking gas valve persisted; ended up opening up the coil (which was by no means designed to be opened), found a corroded cord in the coil and fixed it; finally works!
The weather guy seems nervous on my behalf, so that’s a great sign for what’s to come!.. I kind of got a hint last night due to the mere size of the halo around the moon; with the moon at about 40-50 degrees on the sky, the halo reached almost down to the horizon, gigantic circle!
Blasting Devin Townsends Z2; tales of intergalactic alien warfare with the main mission of captivating humanities supply of quality coffee; great!
All the way to Farmers Market in the playlist, and Im not even halfway!
Sea sea sea sea sea is all I see, endless grey. The past week I have progressed (not sailed directly) only 350nm, meaning 49nm a day/ speed of 2knts, which is pretty sad (That’s what’s generally takes three days, not seven).
The goal for the next seven days in 600nm, ending at about 31.14N 056.20W, and then “only” have about 1500nm left to the Azores.
I realize that I probably have short supplies to sail directly to Norway, as the distance Jamaica-Azores will take in total five weeks due to the abnormal slow weather conditions this year, and adding on another three to four weeks to that (60-70 days total without resupply) will probably be too much (but not impossible!) (hey, how`s the corona isolation going?)
The easterlies finally came! Life is so ridiculous different when sailing downwind instead of mash through waves head on, fighting against everything upwind and doing 3-4.5knots. Chilli is running 4.5-5.5 in what’s feel like a light breeze, with all sails up; full main tight in for stabilization, slack genoa and cutter-fock on a pole to windward. Almost starting to look forward to the stronger winds, to see what we can do!
Starts to get significantly colder; the coconut oil does no longer get out of the bottle by it self!
The lines in the night sky is absolutely massive, like a spiderweb of Mordor, covering the whole sky. The moon signifies turbulence…
Holy shit what a night! Steady winds until about 02:30 when I was caught a bit with my pants down (not literally, haven’t really used pants in weeks), as the wind picked up from its steady 17knt to 35 in about 20min. Everything was black, except the enormous line of clouds and weather which where even darker. The lightning in the horizon was suddenly no longer in the horizon, but above me. For the first time at sea I really heard the thunder and got anxious it would hit the boat. I took apart all essential electronics; chartplotter, pc, HF-radio, AIS and shoved it in the oven (since it acts as a faraday chamber should the lightning strike), and unplugged everything I could not easily dismount. The boat started to lie sideways as the wind got too strong for the wind-vane and rudder to counteract the sails. I fought the mainsail down as the wind picked up to 45knots with periods of over 50 and heavy rain, great shower!
With the main down, the fock still on its pole and a bit of the genoa out to leeward for balance, Chilli surfed with the elements in 6-7knots; behaved just perfect. I watched the thunderclouds for a couple of hours before I collapsed in my bunk. I slept for maybe 30min and had a super strong dream, which I seriously thought was real, being outside in the cockpit in this exact storm, seeing another larger sailboat nearby and realized that without my AIS I`m completely invisible. I woke up immediately and realized that it was just a dream, mounted the AIS back and fired it up before going back to sleep.
Finally got to test the storm-wall for the doghouse I made, worked perfectly!
The front closed in on me in the morning hours, giving steady 25-30knots. This massive line in the sky reaching as far as I can see in both directions made me think of the origin of the great serpent surrounding the world; not impossible this phenomena is linked to its origin in mythology. I tried to steer away from it, but It closed in until after a couple of hours it just disappeared above my head. Winds calms down, the worst is over, for now.
"Sea, Sea señor Squidvåg" Questionable artwork commissioned by Mr. Borge Bull
Light steady winds and good sailing.
First starry night in a while.
With some interesting weather at night-time fresh in mind, I now interrogate the weather reporter on the subject of squall-activity at night. He assured it wouldn’t be any this night.
02.00 – Winds picks up to 35, and the dark sky is full of squalls. An hour later, after the sea has been sufficiently stirred up to 2-3m waves, short and stupid, there`s suddenly not a breath of wind. I don`t dare to hoist the main sail as a stabilizer as I usually do as the sky is full of angry clouds. The boat rocks like crazy as Im lying sideways in the waves and drifts slowly to SW. Super annoying. One hour later the 35knots is turned back on and drags Chilli somewhat unwillingly headfirst through the waves upwind.
The sea settles somewhat throughout the day, but I miss the beam reach sailing.
Its going to be a long way home.
The weather this year is highly unusual, but I heard rumours that it will progress towards somewhat normal patterns sometime next week.
11.06 Day 17
Calm night, and an exceptional unstable morning; believe I had the genoa in and out seven times, went in a circle twice. I fell asleep in the cockpit and jumped up and reefed in the genoa again a strong gust spun up the wind generator, and I expected a stronger squall. Again, it was just a gust. Back to dead calm. Large strange dark clouds and system everywhere. Tiresome…
Drifted south the whole morning and decided to motor-sail the rest of the day to take advantage of the light NE winds, or else it looks like from the forecasts that I would end up drifting here at least until next week. Hopefully I get to the other side of a front tomorrow which might give SE winds to go north. Might be difficult to get to the Azores, unfortunately.
Its misty, wet and cold. Silence is frustrating but going infinitely in the exact wrong direction is even worse; I believe most Atlantic crossings looks quite different from this.
Made a cake to make up for this shitty day, which turned out exceptional.
The frustration of yesterday lifted with a great night rest in calm condition and the engine running on low rpm. Not ideal course, but ok, at least some eastwards progression.
Really feeling the longitudinal shift as the day starts earlier and earlier. Woke up at 05.00 to a sunrise looking like a renaissance painting in 180 spherical degrees, with “Heaven” in front with a tremendous play of colours and sky formations, and “Hell” at the stern; numerous squalls dark as where the sun don`t shine(huhu). I ramped up the engine to not get swallowed by the darkness and got well out of it. Suddenly, a strange splash. I only saw the wake, then again. Pyramid waves? A pair of huge dolphins dancing with Chilli! What a view in the crystal clear deep blue water. Not a gust of wind so no waves or ripples to disturb the transparency of the waters crust. Only a huge swell from north, 2-3m high and 30-50m long valleys of water which only lifts us up and gently down. I sat about an hour in the bow playing with them, waving my arms as to orchestrate their movements. They lay over to one side to look up and see me from time to time, and it seems they try to replicate what I do!
Had a much needed, long, refreshing and energizing swim and freshwater shower. The result was a full clean-down of the boat, laundry, cleaning and organizing of a food compartment rounded up with a great breakfast with freshly baked bread, what a morning! Good spirit in Dolphins.Mackerel skies warns for what’s to come…