The wind has blown itself out. Right now, it is blowing perhaps 4 knots of wind, not enough to sail in with any kind of speed, so we are now motoring. It has been relatively uneventful the last 24 hours or so. Shortly after typing and sending my blog entry for yesterday, the wind moderated considerably, giving us a break from life heeled at 20 degrees. The sun even poked through. For most of they day yesterday, it blew in the mid to high teens. We had to crack off and sail a bit low of the great circle route, but this too slowly changed and we lifted to where we wanted to go. Almost as if the weather gods had a plan for us, the wind started to kick up again just as the daylight was fading away.
I stood the first watch from 8am to 10:30pm. During this time, it blew about 30 knots. We had double reefed the main, single reefed the mizzen and partially rolled up the headsail to make things more comfortable. The point of sail was about 60 degrees apparent and we were charging at 8 to 9 knots. The weather was nasty outside with a constant hard drizzle. We weren't bothered by that though since we were all below watching "Basic Instinct". Since I was on watch I'd get up every 10 minutes or so, check the computer for AIS targets. Give the radar a look, and check the wind direction. I also occasionally would check the bilge, the battery status, the Autopilot heading etc. For those of you reading this who may be appalled that we didn't have a watch on deck, keep in mind that visibility was less than 100 yards. It was pitch black outside. Radar and AIS were our only eyes. Plus it was much more comfortable below.
After my watch I jumped into bed and Eric took over. The schedule last night was 8 to 10:30pm-Brad, 10:30pm to 1am-Eric, 1am-3:30am Kurt, 3:30am-6am- Brian. During the Switch over from Kurt to Brian, they turned on the engine and started motoring. On Kurt's watch the wind had started to die. Single handing things, Kurt shook out the reefs mid-watch. By the time Brian came on, our progress was slow, so they fired up the iron sail.
We seemed to have gotten a handle on the autopilot issues. The biggest thing that plagues us right now is the gray water system. All the gray water drains into a central holding tank, which is then pumped out using an electric pump. There is a problem from the pump to the through hull and only small amounts of gray water get pumped out, enough to keep the gray water from backing up into sinks but certainly not all of it. The problem is that as soon as someone starts to use the galley sink to wash dishes etc. If they don't turn on the pump the gray water backs up into the head sink, which is gross! Oh the joys of boat ownership. None of us is all that keen on dismantling the gray water plumbing and attempting to unclog what ever is clogged. It would be a pretty major, yucky job at the dock, let alone underway.
Brian on the back deck with his IpodI have to mention a few things about the crew. We are a harmonious lot and have gotten along famously. Everyone has pitched in to do their share and I couldn't have asked to do this trip with a better group. Right now, Brian is sitting on the aft deck staring out at the ocean content to listen to music on his Ipod and take in the scenery. Both Eric and Kurt are in the rack catching up on sleep. I, of course am sitting at the nav station typing on the computer, but I just can't help looking up after every sentence or so, scanning the horizon. I never seem to grow tired of this view. Some people just seem to have a connection with the ocean. All four of us on board seem to be those type of people.
PS, A huge thank you to all who sent Birthday wishes yesterday. It meant a lot to me to know that so many people were following our progress. THANK YOU!