Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Position on June 11, 2015 at 0500 hrs GMT
37°52' N, 67°44' W
Wind W x S 3
Boat speed 8.5 knots
Course 340

Wind decreased 30 minutes ago, but up to that point it was a training course for the new crew in fast

At midnight last night (just after despatch of the last blog) we decided to gybe towards the south westerly wind band that we hoped lied ahead. Within a couple of hours we were sailing it in giving us boat speed of 6 to 8 knots in wind of similar strength!

Our day started out like many days on Grey Power. Muster the team around a fresh cup of coffee and a cigarette (know on board as a biddy - not sure of the spelling mind you) and then discuss the day ahead. We let out a reef to have the full main and we prepared the gennaker on the basis that we were going to hoist it after breakfast but eventually the wind direction did not
justify it so we continued to sail under full main and jib.

Our morning was one of reading, sleep and planning the minor maintenance ahead and given the good health of the crew, our captain did not allocated a lunchtime ration of citrus.

Mid afternoon, we engaged turbo. By now we are in a well established westerly breeze of 14 to 18 knots and Grey Power picked up her skirts and decided to shift a gear. With sprays coming of the stern, we have been sailing for the last five hours at speeds consistently in excess of 12 knots and as fast as 16.5 knots. According to my esteemed colleagues on board this is Grey Power's sweet spot and what we will hope to have bringing her home in a couple of weeks time.

For the un-initiated - at first this is a bit daunting - outrunning 600 feet cargo ships because of our speed while water comes down from the bow to the cockpit. But we feel safe. The cockpit is secure and although we are sitting there in T-shirts and shorts taking the occasional wave over our
heads (yes we are soaked but not cold) we smile as our ETA as now likely to be Friday rather than Saturday or Sunday.

As per tradition, happy hour was duly declared at 18h00 and citrus rations imposed on all. Unfortunately the bottom of the first cup was diluted with salt water (choice words of skipper not to be repeated here), a second ration was ordered. This time, despite water running down one's spine, the medicine was kept dry and stowed safely away.

According to our weather forecast, we should be having this wind for another 24 hours so with a bit of luck we can maintain our 12 knots plus speed. A second reef might be needed in due course but in the meantime, Grey Power is truly showing us what she is capable of. Comfort and speed
with the occasional cockpit shower!!

As of 20h00 local time tonight, we believe we have entered the gulf stream. We are currently being pushed easterly (off course by 20 degrees) and it feels warm and muggy. According to our software, the stream should change direction  to northerly in about 50 miles bringing us on course but
with the potential of a less comfortable sea.

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