Transatlantic: Day 8 [Day 29]

The date is July 15, 2018, and we are still moving along.

Intelligence is no longer needed, as everything today is the same as it was yesterday, and will be the same tomorrow.

Maddie and I run on 8 hour watch schedules, which gives us a full 8 hours of sleep (a glorious thing to have on the boat) but that also means that your boring watch will feel eternal. Nothing happens, nothing changes, nothingness in all directions.

Then you gaze upwards in despair and witness the splendor of the night sky. Out here, light pollution doesn’t exist and the constellations actually look like the drawings. Nebulous galactic clouds are clearly visible and the same sky that our ancestors mapped is presented before us once again.

Did they once dream of doing what we are doing right now while gazing up at these very stars?

Transatlantic: Day 7 [Day 28]

Another day, another wave, another watch schedule. Land was now last seen a week ago and we are moving along quickly, except for today. This was our slow day out of the crossing, and it is still so much faster than our trip to Bermuda!

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Waiting for the right winds is so important. Yes, you can sail in any winds, and in any wind direction, but why?

If you have a head wind this week, wait until you have a tail wind next week. If you try and beat against the winds for a week, you will find that you will still be out there when the winds finally change and you start making actual miles under your keel. Alternatively, you could have stayed in a nice harbor where you have shore side attractions like friends, theaters, and places to walk! A week spent in a park is much better than a week spent beating into the seas. When the winds change, you will cover so many more miles per day and arrive at your destination quickly and with less exhaustion on you and on your boat.

We are going so fast because the winds are coming out of the South and we are cruising along on a beam reach!

Transatlantic: Day 6 [Day 27]

It’s a really big ocean, and while we feel that we have been moving fast each day, we are still only in the beginning of our voyage. Every day, every hour, every wave, we get closer to our distant goal, but it never gets closer to us.

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We are traveling very far south of the usual route and the reason is simple, sail to the winds that you have and not to the winds you might get by going somewhere else.

Our friends on shore are telling us that we will have steady winds in the 20 knots range a few hundred miles north of us. We could sail a few days north to find them and then turn East, or we could simply sail straight towards our destination via the shortest distance possible.

Transatlantic: Day 5 [Day 26]

Our speed is back and we continue to clock along at 100+ nautical miles per day! The weather is great and consistent, and we have not had to adjust anything on the boat since we left Bermuda.

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Once we were clear of the last buoy of Bermuda, we set our Monitor Windvane, balanced the sails, and let the boat do the rest! The winds were steady and consistent, and we never had to touch a thing since! Yes, our course might wander a little north or a little less north, but we are generally going in the right direction, and that is all that really matters.

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On the boat, this is the closest thing to a digital chart of our travels that we can see. It is small and basic, and you can see all the messages we send back and forth with family and friends back on shore.

The funny thing is, when we first traveled down the coast of the United States, there were times when we thought we were “very far out to sea” because we couldn’t see land. When you look at this big map of our travels so far, you can see that we never did leave land, but yet we were planning to cross an ocean.

We were young and green, and now, a year later, we are approaching the middle of the Atlantic. At that point, our closest point of land will be ahead of us because we truly are “out to sea”.

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The best part of this voyage is how little we need to do. With the sails balanced, the windsteering keeps us going in a general straight line. The winds are steady and powerful, allowing us to move along at a nice speed constantly. Life seems normal when heeled to port, as we have been on starboard tack since we left Bermuda.

Transatlantic: Day 4 [Day 25]

The pace may have slowed a little, but we are still moving along very quickly! In our slower pace, we are still covering almost 100 miles per day. At this pace, we should make the passage from Bermuda to the Azores in under 18 days, but we know it is a long trip and everything could change. In the meantime, we are enjoying the fast pace and good winds.

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While we may be rather far from land, we were graced with a visitor today! A seabird was relaxing in the distance and Maddie was able to capture a photo of him with her telephoto lens!

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Seeing reminders of land based life is comforting out here, even though we only left land a few days prior. The memory of land will fade quickly as your reality is all around you and dry land is merely a figment of your imagination, a dream about a past life, a fleeting thought.

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And by the way, there is a Hurricane only a few hundred miles away!