AC Day 15: Dolpin galore!

Soooo we’re sailing east now, and don’t want to think about the detour we just made. We are back on track, and expect some nice weather to sail towards Ireland from Saturday. I didn’t do the math yet, but I guess it won’t take more than 9 days until we arrive in Cork. Ben can’t wait to get back to his wife, the rest of us just want to get onto land somewhere with showers and a little break from the sea. But it’s still too far away to get excited. On the southern crossing, we would have been there already by now!

The crosses on the left are the positions of Matenka, the line is our track and the circles in the south are our waypoints of the Gulf Stream (but it wasn’t there)

The days seem to get shorter every day. Not because of daylight, but because we got into a comfortable rhythm of the sea. One is on shift, the rest is either being social in the cockpit or being non-social in their own little corner of the boat (sleeping, watching movies, reading books..). We are doing great speed, we don’t seem to fall under 7 knots and also see some 9s and 10s on the chart plotter. With this speed, we’ll arrive in Portugal in no time 🙂

Martijn treats us to pancakes for breakfast. The real excitement of the day happens during the shift change from Martijn to me, where we look around properly and notice a big tanker really close to us. We decide to call it up on VHF, so Martijn uses the occasion to practice his VHF skills. We reach a very nice skipper with an Indian accent (yay, things like that can really make your day!) and he has an eye on us. We pass port to port. We didn’t dare to ask if he had lost any of his cargo underway.. Don’t want to think about dealing with another sinking container!

I finished my Bill Bryson book (Into the Woods) and will start on Putin again. Or maybe some lighter book. Martijn and I are in full on Tetris competition, I got a lucky highscore which he tries to beat whenever my phone has a bit of charge in it. 


In the evening, the moon rises while the sun sets. Its almost full moon and it sheds a magical light on the water. Right before dark we are joined by a huge pod of dolphins, jumping around and showing off all around the boat. Scehawk is charging at the minute, and the waves are quite long and high so she playfully slides along almost in sync with the movements of the dolphins.

Ben is the chef of the day and makes a pasta dish from the oven. The wind dies down so much that we turn on the engine. Our windmeter stops working on longer passages because it runs only on solar (and the battery bank is quite good, but not good enough for 2 week+ passages). Thomas sticks a wet finger in the air and says ‘I refuse to motor, there is still some wind!’, so he hoists all sails again. I moan a little bit, loads of work, but after all the sails are up we see that he was right: we are doing 5 knots in the right direction! Since the winds are very light, I guess 10 knots to max 12, we have our hands full of helping Helmut keep course. If there is a little ‘gust’, the apparent wind changes and the boat speeds up, causing us to head into the wind more than we planned. If we bear off too much, we lose speed and apparent speed and the sails start flapping. Does that make sense? We sit next to Helmut and guide him through the night. 

During my nightshift from 00:00 to 03:00, the moon is bright and there are no clouds. The wind stays light, but good enough to sail. We are moving east slowly..

Position: 41 51 N, 32 54 W

Miles of the day: 163, 117 towards Cork

To go: 1173 NM

Highlight of the day: Jumping dolphins against the cliche backdrop of a setting sun and rising moon

Drama of the day: Feeling bad about the detour we made

Food: Pure sin for breakfast: pancakes with bacon and cheese and/or covered in sirup, pumpkin soup and bread for lunch and a tuna pasta from the oven for dinner.

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