What a difference a few hours can make. After listening to the weather briefing and also the software predictions it was clear we had to choose between the traditional ‘go south until the butter melts’ route or head west through the wind shadow of the islands to pick up the brisk northerlys to the north of the low pressure.
We opted for the latter, happy to take the pain of the wind shadow from Gran Canaria during the first night. We popped out of it in the early hours and settled onto a fast reach at 8 knots+ west bound – until it died, just a few hours later. The smug feeling of ‘that wasn’t too bad’ was replaced for the next 18 hours with frustraton at bobbing around like a cork. We weren’t the only ones though – the daily position reports and radio chat suggested whichever way you had gone most people had very light winds. You can handle this in two ways – enjoy being at sea, catching fish, sunbathing and just chilling, or concentrate with everything you have, looking for every zephyr to get the boat moving – ‘any direction will do, just give us some steerage way’. Being the ex racers we are, we chose the latter and got frustrated!
However, just a Pete served the dinner the wind arrived (as is often the case, so maybe we should have planned dinner for earlier!), and we spent a thoroughly pleasant night blasting along, initially on a beat but then on a fine reach at speeds between 7 and 8 knots. I think at times Lesley was now appreciating the previous day’s bobbing, but she got into rapidly!
So that’s it for now – happy crew, charging along in the sunshine!
Derek, Lesley and Pete.