Day 17 (June 6) 500 miles to Lisbon

In my previous posting I wrote about the two types of solo sailors: the racer- seafarer and the surly sailor. Diyan belongs to the first category, wheras I fit into neither of the two. I, too, tend to be a somewhat surly fellow, but this is not enough to be a good solo sailor – 30% of the caliber of Bernard Moitessiert. He was the best sailor of the eight participants in the first circumnavigation of solo sailors – the Golden globe, held in 1968-1969 under the auspices of the London newspaper The Times. On his boat he had no engine or radio. After closing the circle from the west at cape Good Hope, he had technically circumnavigated the globe. Instead of pointing north to England, where the starting and …

Day 16 (June 5th) Peaceful sailing

The whole day on June 5th we sailed with Elvis, the king of dead run sailing , twisting around. The autopilot was doing fairly well in view of the conditions – the wind in the lower limit of Force 5 Beaufort, gradually  weakening to Force 4. The spinnaker – spilling over, never sticking to its ideal  semi-elliptical shape – as if had understood that it had to restore itself  its own form in accordance with  the fixed compass course, supported by the autopilot in an acceptable range. Diyan  loves to steer manually the spinnaker. Not me! But obviously, I have to force myself to do it, so that I can get the skill of it. If the autopilot (not really smart) can do it, I, too, have to work it …

Near the Azores

On June 3rd  we sailed all day and all night, under changing but steadily mean conditions – almost all the time it was drizzling, as if Jupiter had nothing to do but sprinkle over us with a spray. The fine drizzle clung everywhere and made everything wet – wet faces, hands, clothes, benches, the deck, ropes, everything on board Furia, including the inside. Sailing on dead run, we continued experimenting alternatively either port or starboard tack, because the west wind either backed to the south, or veered  to the north, or blew simply from due west. It was fickle in its strength too, but after 10 o’clock in the morning we only tried guessing its speed because the connection between the wind vane transducer or in explanatory terms – the turnstiles, …

Night sail with the Rolling Stones

The evening of the last day of May during the happy hour (half an hour before sunset) we ate some crackers with pate’, Emmental cheese, and picked from the hand pots some mixed salad of boiled beetroot and maize, swallowed down with rose wine which started to gain our liking. We said Good-bye to the colored by the sunset Ruby Tuesday that marked the first half of our passage from Martinique to Lisbon. Diyan went to rest at 22:30, while I stayed in the cockpit for my first night watch which we decided to last until 02 (i.e. 4 hours, so that one can get more sleep). When rotating watches, some time is inevitably lost in the preparation for the taking the watch crew as well as the stepping down …

The wind is back

On May 29, around noon, the gentle zephyr turned into weak wind of 7-8 knots. Immediately we hoisted the mainsail and deployed the spinnaker. Furia was doing approximately 6 knots – a higher speed than what our Yanmar managed to make. During the night the wind increased and when I began my watch at 02:00, the wind had reached was over 15 knots, therefore we decided to drop the spinnaker and continue sailing in butterfly mode, with poled out jib. Indeed, the speed dropped by 1 knot, but nevertheless we managed to maintain 6.5 knots on a dead run with rhythmical and smooth roll. Furia was doing fine – me, too, in the moonless night under the sound of Italian music only. I spent the prolonged watch until sunrise like …

In the middle of the passage

On May 31 at 14:40 we were right in the middle of the passage from Martinique to Cascais Lisbon. The total distance along the direct route (the great circle route) is 3090 nm, the fire half of them makes 1645 nm. This is the remaining distance to waypoint (DTW) if conditions allow us to this direct route. Otherwise we have practically sailed 1650nm, i.e. 100nm more, because of the beating I to the wind 20 degrees lower (northerly) of the great circle route. On this occasion we did several things: First, we lowered the main to the second reef because the wind was blowing permanently upper force 5 and our heel increased to 30 degrees. Nevertheless Furia was flying at 7,5-8 kn of speed along the 3-4 meters swell. Second, …