Leander is at 21 17 N, 31 31 W. We sailing at 6 knots in 18 knots of wind (gusting 25). Our course is 209 magnetic. We we have jibed, and are now sailing ssw, taking the wind off our port side. We continue to sail under jib only.
All is well. We would like to be sailing closer to due west, but the wind had veered a bit more, such that, at best, we could sail only WNW on the other tack. We would be better served sailing wing and wing, but are still hesitant to try to set that up again. The seas are sufficiently rough that it is difficult to keep both of the sails filled when running straight downwind. And the wind continues to oscillate between lows of 15 knots to gusts of 27, such that it is difficult to set up the appropriate amount of sail to deal with the varying conditions. It is easier to roll the jib in and out as the wind changes, as needed, especially at night when only one of us is on watch.
The seas continue to be rough and lumpy. It is probably the case that five knots of wind makes a big difference with respect to the sea state. At 15 knots, like we had in the Pacific trades, the seas were somewhat more gentle, and probably more stretched out. At 20 knots, gusting 27, the seas continue to be large and rough. There is also a cross swell, coming down from the due north, mixing in with our larger wind waves, which are rolling ENE — the same direction as the wind.
We haven’t been getting much sun, either, which means that we’ve had to turn to the engine more frequently to charge the batteries. The missing sun takes the solar panels out of play, which can otherwise be relied upon for an extra 50 amps a day or so. That should not be a problem, however, as we have used only about 20% of our fuel after 33% of our trip.
We are averaging about 135 nautical miles a day. We took out the old ship’s logs out to compare that with the mileage that we got in the Pacific. Between the Galapagos and the Marquesas, for example, the wind averaged less than 15 knots, but we averaged 160 miles a day, including days of 183, 187, and 200. Part of that was the stronger Humboldt Current (which ran at 1.5 knots, compared to the 0.5 knot Canary current that we now ride), but it is also because we haven’t been able to get both sails up comfortably here, and thus have been unable to take advantage of the stronger winds.
Though we are now some 500 miles away from the nearest land, we are still seeing sea birds (well, one — could it be the same fellow following us . . .)
We sailed 139 miles during the last 24 hours, for a total of 979 miles done, and 1,730 to go.