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Hove-to off Ireland

0800: Picton Castle is at 49-40N / 016-08W and the ship is hove-to in strong easterly winds, about 30 knots, well short of a gale but plenty of wind none the less. If we were bound towards any western quadrant we would be sailing nice and smartly. As it happens the wind is coming directly from our destination and objective. We are hove-to more to hold position than to ride out strong winds. We are about 270 miles WSW of the famous Fastnet Rock off the SW coast of Ireland. Grey rolling seas capped with white feathery foam roll on toward us from the fine line of the horizon, give the ship a lift and roll on under and carry on to leeward. The ship takes the small lift like shifting her seat on a chair. The ship is riding very comfortably. Skies are grey of course, a sort of raggedy layer of torn clouds showing shredded edges as they fly, low and swift overhead. Many different shades of grey in today’s pallet, like grey velvet or velour as you pass your hand over it in a low angle light. Spitting rain, too, and a little spray at times. For the finishing artistic touch we have a couple of sea birds who glide along with us keeping us company. Sometimes one comes close to a topsail yardarm. Sometimes one or both of them alight in the seas and heave-to along with us. Most of the time these birds soar and hold station fairly high aloft looking down on this small barque as she jogs along. The watch on deck is hanging out in the lee of the galley house, or the “caboose” as it used to be called back in the day. Warm air and fresh hot coffee stream out Donald’s galley (and also today breakfast burritos), he usually has some music on too, so it is a popular place to hang out. Shaggy was on the hit parade yesterday coming out of his domain. That was described to me by Donald as “Nadja Music”. She was in the galley baking bread in her off watch.

1700: Sky is breaking, lots of blue now but still blowing pretty hard. The winds will probably back into the north and die off. So, it looks like we sit tight and let these winds blow through tonight or so and then we can get back on course for where we are bound, hopefully with a fair westerly to fill her sails. It is Sunday at sea and some of the gang are sewing up canvas ditty bags on the main-hatch.

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