11 Apr Horta
11 April 2023
We had a wonderful few days sailing. The northeasterly wind of 20-25 knots continued to blow steadily. Because of this we made good speeds and very nice preserved distances. For the less nautically savvy among us, a preserved distance is the actual (shortest) distance between two points. Since there is never a really straight line, but there is always a pendulum in it (sometimes more, sometimes less), you always log more miles than you eventually get further on the map. Therefore, a logged distance is not really that interesting, but the preserved distance gives a more realistic picture of what you actually travel. You could say that the difference in distance between the two shows how well (or badly) the steering is. 😉
The first showers have now also passed over us. The first was received with some joy, but after a night full of showers we were done with it again. Only the ship itself always likes it when the top of the masts is also rinsed nicely. Finally that Saharan sand, which has been accumulating in the rigging for months, is coming down. First this creates a kind of mud, which makes it all very slippery in the mast and eventually on deck. But by now most of it has reached the deck and we have scrubbed the ship nicely, so the slipperiness is over and the Oosterschelde is shining in the sun.
Unfortunately, as expected, the wind eventually turned north, forcing us to make a choice; do we go left or right.. Since we were already quite west of Horta and the low pressure area that caused this wind would dissolve fairly quickly, it was not a very difficult choice; we turned right, east. That was another beautiful afternoon of sailing with speeds in excess of 9 knots. But then the wind died down and all we had left was the swell. So we lowered most of the sails and started the engine to steer a lot higher and get a better angle on that swell.
Today we were in the middle of the high pressure area and there was no wind at all, but the weather reports said there would be a light wind from 35 degrees north and above. So we motored to the north and have now found this light wind. With the square rig on it, the engine could be turned off again and the swell has decreased slightly, so the mainsail is also included. So we sail into the night and think that this wind will continue to push us until sometime during the morning. After that, the high pressure area will expand further and all wind in this area is expected to disappear. So we enjoy this beautiful night under a clear starry sky and we just see the moon rise.