28 June 2022

Day 23 — Experience

At 0600 the wind really fell off and we had to pull out 'Orion', our cruising spinnaker. The name comes from the constellation of black stars sewn onto the large, light white sail. I also eased the out haul on the main to give the sail more draft, turned the boat to put us on a beam reach, and did everything I could think of to keep us moving in 6 knots of wind. Right now, we are making 3-4 knots, which is about as good as we can expect. Supposed to have this light wind all day.

After doing all that, it occurred to me that we are getting A LOT of sailing experience on this trip. The equivalent of many years of normal cruising. 5 years? I'm choosing that number from a hat, but I'm probably not far off. If nothing else, I am really learning how the old girl sails, and what makes her move. Before departing I paid to get her Polar Diagram to use in my routing program. This turned out to be a good investment because it really made the routing program come to life. I honestly thought the Polar Diagram was wildly optimistic because I'd never been able to get the performance out of Petronella that the Polar predicted, but between lots of practice (there's no way to avoid that out here!) and 'tutoring' from the routing program, telling me which angle to sail, I've gradually figured thing out, and now I'm getting performance I never dreamed possible out of the old girl. It's really been an eye opener.

Later in the day, the wind just drifted away. I think the Azores High, which we struggled to escape, has drifted east and caught us again. Before dark, we had to decide whether to drift all night, or motor all night. We decided to invest some of our remaining fuel in motoring east, wher we hope to find more wind. Time will tell.

To boost morale (mainly mine, Helena is a rock and never seems to get frustrated) I made pizza. I make it on the stove top in a cast iron skillet to save propane. Basically I make the dough, press it out into a round, about the size of the pan, heat the pan and coat the bottom with olive oil, put the dough in the pan to cook it, flip it over when slightly browned, put on the toppings, cook a bit more, then run under the broiler to melt the cheese. Simple, quick, and delicious. Helena had her half à la Portuguese, which means with onions, hard boiled eggs, and mortadella. That seemed like too many flavors for me, so I stuck with plain Margarita style.

Hoping to have wind for breakfast !


  1. Have you tried tacking downwind? 140 true gives you 120 apparent. Additional speed makes up for extra distance, and is often more comfortable.

    1. Yes, that’s what we were doing until I thought of the twins, which worked beautifully.


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