AC Day 2: Drifting

Compared to our south Atlantic crossing, we have way more daylight this time. Close to the equator in winter, we got daylight from 6:00 to 18:00, but now we have super short nights from 21:00 to 4:30! This means we only have 3 night shifts and as we are 4 people there is always one crew member who can sleep the whole night. Yesterday, it was Martijn. Today, it was me. Unlucky for me, the sailing got so uncomfortable that I only slept for 1-2 hours, despite being in bed for more than 8. 

We were trying to slow the boat down a little bit, because at our fast pace we would reach the Gulf Stream before the wind had turned SW. When you have a strong NE wind blowing against the east going current of the Gulf Stream, it can build up nasty breaking waves. We don’t want to be in nasty breaking waves, so we slowed down the boat as much as possible. With 2 reefs and 1/3 headsail out, we were still doing 6 knots and heeling over badly as we were still sailing upwind.

We downloaded another weather update and didn’t like where this was going.. A big low pressure system had reorganised around the remnants of tropical storm ‘Beryl’ and it was exactly crossing our path. WTF, a hurricane 2 days ago and a tropical storm today? How does karma hate us so bad? We were already in the southeast end of it, with strong NE winds and building seas. 

We had a couple of options at this point: sailing north, sailing south, stopping the boat or buckling up and continuing towards the storm. Needless to say, we didn’t feel like riding this storm if there were other options. We also didn’t want to sail north, as the storm was headed exactly there and we would miss the Gulf Stream. We also didn’t want to go south, as it would take us further away from Ireland and we would have to make up for our lost miles against the wind again. So we decided to stop the boat, heave to and wait for the weather to clear up.

From our champagne sailing yesterday to a massive laundry machine today is a big transition. Food is flying around, everyone just crept into a little corner of the boat, waiting it out and trying not to move more than necessary. I don’t know what time it is. We haven’t eaten yet. I don’t even want to think about my cooking shift tonight. Writing this makes me want to throw up on the computer.

We took hours trying to get the boat into the most comfortable motion: we dropped the main sail, furled in the head sail to 1/3 and have the boat bobbing around at 60 degrees to the waves. It took a lot of trimming, as the boat wants to lie 90 degrees to the waves. That is the most uncomfortable position to be in, so we tweaked and tried out all different possibilities while fighting sea sickness. Ben made coffee, which was very dangerous with the filter full of boiling hot water dangling around on top of the thermos. A wave fucked it up and he got boiling hot water all over his hands. It will leave nasty burns. When the coffee was finished, it was almost impossible to pour and drink it because of the boats movements. Let this Friday 13th be over soon.


Position: 38º 48.83 N 71º03.20 W

Miles done today: 100 NM (only 28 towards Cork)

Miles to go towards Cork as the crow flies: 2756 NM

Highlight of the day: Played a few games of shithead and ate pasta with chili con carne leftovers of yesterday.

Drama of the day: Ben burned his hands badly. We are not making progress. There is a storm in our path. Its Friday the 13th. Batteries are empty and moods are low.

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