Tuesday, December 1st, 2015
Captain called an all-hands muster after lunch to discuss the progress of the passage. We have made good tracks from the Azores, but the weather charts are currently showing a huge high-pressure system over almost the whole North Atlantic, which is forecast to remain almost stationary for at least the next few days and giving us moderate to light winds from between North and East. Since we are even now slightly below the latitude of Cadiz but still nearly 700 miles to the west, it would take us a long time to fetch it under sail, and nobody relishes the thought of motoring into headwinds for five days.
The Captain has therefore made the decision that we will divert our course and call at the wonderful islands of Madeira instead, and from there on to Morocco. It is a great privilege of this program that we can adapt to make the best of the weather rather than ignoring it, and bashing on regardless. Mail in Gibraltar will be forwarded to meet us in the Canaries, and there are no other changes expected to this leg of the voyage. The crew seem excited by the unscheduled opportunity to call at Madeira!
Last night the watches made the most of the full moon to practice climbing aloft after dark.
SHIP’S WORK: Spot paint grey on the focsle head rail, paint a couple of propane tanks to protect from rust, end-for-end port fore and main tacks, ratlines on starboard topmast shrouds, splice and serve the wire for temporary martingale backropes, splice, serve and seize inner jib stay strop, parcel and seize martingale stay strop, prime martingale tang, grease t’gallant and topmasts and oil gin blocks aloft.
TOWARDS: Porto Santo Island, Madeira
TIME ZONE: ZD + 1
NOON POSITION: 35°49.1’N /018°50.1’W
DAYS RUN: 87nm
PASSAGE LOG: 665nm
DISTANCE REMAINING: 240nm
COURSE AND SPEED: SE (130°T)
WIND: NExE, Force 5
WEATHER: 3/8 cloud cover (cumulus), air temp 62F (17°C), sea surface temp 66F (19°C) barometer reading 1033 millibars, visibility good
SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION: 4-6 feet, NE
SAILS SET: Topsails and courses, fore topmast staysail, main topmast staysail, spanker.