Early Morning Walk on Santa Maria

I woke up early and took a walk up the steep hill to the town.  I had learned that a century or so ago, Azoreans displayed their good fortune with ornate ironwork on their first-floor balconies.  Each design is unique.  I looked for duplicates and was unable to find one.DSCN5419

Shortly before casting off lines, there was excitement in the air.  Doing last minute chores, I took the trash to the dumpster.  I passed ten or more crew from various boats.  Everyone was smiling and had an upbeat greeting.   Anticipating the imminent departure, said; “Safe sail,” “Safe travels,” or “Fair views.”  With 5 kts of wind forecast for the next 3 days, fair winds was optimistic.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the winds were close to 10 kts as we lined up for the 1200 start.  Carlos was cautious, and we were .2 nm from the starting line when the final horn blasted.  Eventually we caught the pack and over several miles passed half the boats.

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We crossed the start line a bit late, but the sails were set well and we moved to the middle of the pack
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This was our last view of land for the next five days.

For most of the reminder of the day, the winds held, about 10-12 kts.  We were on a close reach and doing a respectable 6-7.  When the wind shifted so we could do a board reach, we were able to do between 7.5 and 8.5.  By making small adjustments to the heading, we saw low 8. Knots.  Great fun.

At the end of my 2200 watch, the wind started to drop.

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