Leander is at 19 45 N, 51 21 W, sailing at 6.8 knots on a course of 285 magnetic in 22 knots of wind, gusting 35 in squalls.
The squalls have been the story of the day. We had seen very light showers from time to time over the last couple of weeks, but they almost always fizzled out before they reached us. Those few that did reach us sprinkled so lightly that the rain didn’t even wash the African dust from our deck and sails.
But now we’re getting real squalls with soaking, slashing rains, the kind that require all hands on deck with waterproof gear, as to work with the strong and shifty winds. The first one, this morning, caught Sima on watch with the her and the kids spread out for breakfast, and it was a bit of challenge getting the decks cleared and the kids down below so that we could wrestle with the sails. We’ve had four squall lines roll through since then. The wind dies before and after they come through, but the squalls themselves are bringing winds of up to 37 knots. We are fortunate that the winds are neither backing nor veering to any significant extent as the squalls move through, any more than 15 degrees either way. It would be no fun if the winds shifted 180, as they sometimes do, and forced us to sail into the very big seas that have grown over the last couple of days.
The crew is fine, although, after two weeks at sea, Sima and I have adapted differently. I have gotten my sea legs and and starting to enjoy the movement of the boat. Sima is having a tougher time, with the return of the bigger seas. “This crossing is the hardest we’ve done,” she says, and she compares childbirth favorably to the challenges she has faced during this passage. That’s saying something. She spends most of the day sitting or lying down, reading or knitting, and it is a lot of work for her to do food prep. It wasn’t always this way for her, as she used to adapt as well as me after a few days. We’ve been talking about whether having the kids has somehow had an impact.
The kids continue to do fine. Aylin has her sea legs too, as she moves back and forth across the main cabin at about 20 degrees off of vertical on either side as the boat rolls. Alexander is at about the same place, but he still feels the need to lie down every once in a while. Just now, they are doing puzzles on the floor.
We again sailed 160 nautical miles during the last 24 hours, for a total of 2,279 miles done, and 637 to go.