We Depart for Horta, Azores!

Our start was delayed by the late delivery of our bow thruster solenoids.  For most of the morning it looked like we were going to leave without the unit.  Since we only use the thruster while docking, it would not have been mission critical.  We needed to top off the water and diesel, so that added to our late start.  The upside of the late start we got a nice picture of our friends going across the start line.

As I was writing this, a school of tiny flying fishes were headed in the opposite direction on the starboard.  They are interesting as they actually flap their wings and stay out of the water for a surprising distance.  These little ones were flying about 10-12 feet.  It is much nicer to see them flapping their wings, than to clean them off the deck.  At some point on the last leg, there was one by the port helm.  He/she apparently hit, bled some and then ended up further aft with another blood spot.  I did the traditional burial at sea and lamented a sad end.

On a cheery note, there is a wonderful blue sky, few clouds and a modest breeze.  We are averaging 6 knots, occasionally hitting 7.5 or dropping to the mid-5’s.  The apparent wind is consistent at 9 knots and we are on a comfortable beam reach. Sails are set.  There are smaller rollers rocking the boat.  The autopilot is functioning well.   We were able to catch Migaloo after we passed the cut to open ocean.  However, they deployed their spinnaker and are now slightly ahead of us. There are three boats behind us.  We passed two of them and the other got a later start.  Twenty some are ahead of us.

We had to use the engine to charge the house batteries that run the autopilot and frigs.  This moved us up in the pack.  Hard to say our relative standing. Maybe in the top third.

My 2:00 pm (1400) shift was peaceful.  Steady wind and mild seas.

I saw my first sunset of the trip. On the leg to Bermuda there was no sun to see, except one that I apparently slept through.  The sunset today was absolutely beautiful, and it lasted quite a while.

My 2200 shift was the first of the trip to see the big dipper and north star.  As we were on a heading of 050 with a course over ground (COG) of 045.  The winds continued to be consistent.  There is a certain magic seeing so many stars.  I did not see the milky way, despite not being able to see the moon.  Carlos had the shift after me and he said he saw the moon as a tiny sliver.

Today was the first day that I was able to write a post on board while sailing.  Previously it would have been impossible to keep the laptop and my fingers connected.  It would have been a challenge just to keep the laptop on the table.