Well yesterday was lovely. The wind was around 12 to 15 knots most of the day, the sun was out, I had a good wash, shave and change of clothes, I spoke sister to Katharine on the sat phone down in Vizvar on the Hungarian / Croatian border.
The wind was from the West initially and we were going SW on the Starboard tack, we tacked for lunch so I could get cheese and the last of the tomatoes from the fridge, on the port tack the wind came around to the South and we headed WNW, to take some North in anticipation of winds today.
On the wildlife I saw another storm petrel and a frigate bird. I was seeing what I thought were bits of plastic or polystyrene on the surface of the water but they were all very similarly shaped, I think that they were the sails of Portuguese Men of War.
Mike’s now happy that they were Fulmars that I was seeing but has thrown a question... Could the Black Backed Gull have been a Black Browed Albatross? Of course I now don’t know, they both appear possible as the Black Backed Gull is sometimes pelagic and the Black Browed Albatross sometimes visits this part of the world, which was news to me as I’d thought that Albatrosses were exclusive to the southern Hemisphere, but apparently not. In any event I suspect it was a gull because it seemed a bit bigger than the Fulmars but not a lot whereas an Albatross is huge in comparison. BBG or BBA, the burning question of the hour.
By dusk yesterday the wind had increased to 20 knots, we had 2 reefs in the main and genoa and were bowling along at about 6 and three quarter knots. By midnight the wind was up to about 23 and she was a bit overpressed so I put the third reef in and changed to the No1 staysail and we were still chuntering along at the same speed but with less heel. We hit couple of big waves in the night, or they hit us, one with a big bang had us heeled right over and a lot of the books jumped out of the port bookshelf again and flew into the starboard settee berth along with a butternut squash from the hammock.
This morning is grey and wet, we’ve had several heavy showers, I nearly shook out some reef but as I was about to a squall hit, I think we’re passing through a warm front so will wait until it settles. The forecast has us having 15 knot winds today but going up to 30 knots tonight before falling away again, to hopefully a settled few days.
We’ve about 30 miles to go to half way in the distance to Newport, so should pass that sometime this afternoon if all goes well, it’s a milestone I’ve been looking forward to for ages now, hopefully the second half will be smoother and easier than the first, but if it’s no worse then I’ll be quite happy.