AC Day 1: Champagne Sailing

After our very calm first night at sea, the wind picked up in the morning. As soon as it was strong enough to sail, Thomas turned off the engine and Martijn balanced the boat by trimming the sails and setting the hydrovane. The boat was speeding away, much faster than she is on engine. We were doing 7-8 knots in the right direction! After his shift, Martijn went to bed and I took over at 9:00. As everyone slowly woke up, we had a coffee in the cockpit and admired Martijns work on the hydrovane. It was balanced so well that it was just sailing in a straight line without any corrections! A closer look revealed that the vane was still locked with a pin, so the rudder wasn’t moving at all. We had been sailing old school for hours, by just adjusting the sails and locking the rudder! Sad enough, I touched it, it went off course and I had to do it all over again. Don’t ever touch a running system!

The seas were flat, wind was picking up and the sun was shining. We threw out a lure to make our leisurely cruise complete. After a couple of hours, the line went off and we had caught our first catch of the crossing: a seagull. It was fighting like crazy and we didn’t know what to do with it, but luckily it got off the hook by itself. We quickly pulled in the line, to be continued one we are further away from land.

Just before lunch I had a snooze (I never really sleep the first night at sea) and woke up to a worried Thomas and Ben. Ben had heard the coast guard calling Matenka, our friends who meant to leave together with us. We knew that they postponed their departure with a couple of hours, so they anchored at the statue at liberty while we sailed off already. Since then, we hadn’t heard anything from them so we were getting worried. We sent text messages, e-mails, tried to call and had my father stalk them on AIS. They seemed to have left in the morning, why were they not responding?!

Meanwhile, we had the best first day at sea ever. Where normally we need to find our sea legs the first day, which means that we have head aches, are grumpy, sleepless and unmotivated to do anything. Today however, the hydrovane was steering in a straight line while we were suntanning, reading books, baking bread and having beers and full meals. Best passage ever, who said the North Atlantic was a bitch to sail across? 


Towards the evening we downloaded the weather again and everything looked fine for the night. We saw that the wind would pick up, and decided to reef after the first night shift. The wind gradually grew stronger and the waves picked up. We were sailing upwind, but it was still quite comfortable down below. We finally got word from Matenka, that they couldn’t get their messages to work properly and they hadn’t turned on the sat phone until they got out of reach of shore connectivity. What a relief that all was fine!

Position: 39 15 N 72 10 W

Miles done: 136 NM (only 26 towards our destination)

Miles to go towards Cork as the crow flies: 2784 NM

Weather: sunny, 10-15 knots NE, freshly cold

Catch of the day: seagull

Highlight of the day: Awesome weather. No waves, good night of sleep, fast sailing, great food.

Dramas of the day: Lost Matenka, Martijn got a bit seasick during cooking, I got my hand cut on the fishing line.

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