Dear Friends—The weather made everything more challenging on Day 2. The winds stayed up in the 20s and the seas were rising. We put in the first mainsail reef at 0845. We put in a second reef at 2330 in anticipation of building wind. We were not disappointed. With furled genoa and double reefed main we had more than a little excitement throughout the night keeping course downwind. The waves built to 12 feet or more. It was hard to tell. Steering in the following sea was a challenge. We grabbed sandwiches, fruit and snack bars when we could. However, for dinner we had a turkey meat sauce with zucchini noodles that Avghi made. It tasted like the finest Northern Italian cuisine. Nothing like a bowl of hot delicious food in large seas and high winds.
During the second night, the highest wind gust we saw was 38 knots. We were way past small craft advisories. Most of the time the winds were in the high 20s or low 30s. The maximum boat speed recorded was with Mike at the wheel at 27.2 knots, obviously surfing down one of the big waves. It’s hard to believe but that is what the instruments said.
Both nights we saw gorgeous stars that also turned out to be incredibly crucial for maintaining our courses while on the knife-edge of trying to keep as close to a following sea and wind without wind backing our mainsail even with the preventer. At one time we were using Canopus which is low in the sky at this latitude and Sirius (to the left and down a little from Orion, the brightest star in the heavens). All of the instruments are great but with these challenging seas, steering by the stars was by far the easiest.
We turned on the engine a few times to try and charge the batteries, but we also engaged the prop for a number of hours to help power through some of the sloppy waves. We did experience some battery charging problems but any fixes would have to wait until Turtle Bay.
Captain Melody, Barbara, Mike, Avghi and Jeannea