We have had mixed conditions over the last couple of days. The emphasis has been on maintaining a boat speed of at least 5 knots and keeping a little north of the rhumb line in anticipation of a current sweeping us south as we approach Portugal and northerly winds to fill in.
Yesterday we had some periods of great sailing, including about 4 hours of flying the spinnaker, resulting in boat speeds often over 8 knots, and also some periods where there just wasn’t enough apparent wind speed to get us over that 5 knot mark so we resorted to seeking assistance from the engine. We should add that after raising the spinnaker, we received a VHF call from La Capitana nearby who thought we may have been having issues with it. It was true that it didn’t go up like clockwork because we hadn’t flown it since it was dunked in the water after the halyard broke so, as expected, it had a couple of twists but nothing that couldn’t be sorted. Overnight we had more good sailing in chilly northerly winds, sometimes in some drizzle (why are we coming back to Europe, we ask ourselves?) but it didn’t last. The wind continued to clock to East North East and drop in strength so we have been motoring since around 10:00 this morning and expect to continue to do so until the early hours tomorrow, if our forecasts are accurate. At least the temperatures have risen. Tomorrow we expect stronger northerly winds to fill in for the remainder of the trip and hopefully better boar speed….. time will tell.
No more fish caught, even though we are still trying ….. but we have been seeing some dolphins, have scooped up a squid and a couple of baby Portugese Man O’ War jellyfish on deck. Lots of shipping (i.e. 5 or 6 / day) following a similar or opposite route to us. This is just a taste of things to come as we cross the shipping lanes (all 5 of them) off Cape St Vincent.