The winds today were perfect! We were on a broad to beam reach, in 8 to 10 knots of breeze as we zipped along with fair winds and following seas. Our Monitor windvane steered us perfectly and flawlessly as we traveled through the water.
Every few hours, I would check our course, as the windvane steers us at an angle to the wind and no to a magnetic heading. As the wind shifts, so do we. This requires constant vigilance, as small wind shifts can lead to small deviations from the intended course.
I found that checking every 3 hours proved to be adequate, as the ocean is big, and if we sailed a few degrees to port or starboard, it didn't really matter in the end!
The whole day was spent under full sail as we listened to the waves whoosh past our hull.
As the afternoon befell us, cirrus clouds started to populate the sky. We decided to reef down as the sun was setting, since these clouds started to fill the sky, all emanating out of a massive cloud to the west of us.
As the sun went below the horizon, the winds started to build and we decided that instead of a 3rd reef, we should simply put up the trysail.
This tiny storm sail is flown in lieu of the moansail and removes the boom from the equation. This makes jiving stress free but it does make it hard to sail to windward.
We only put up the trysail if we plan on heaving to or sailing off the wind.
The wind was blowing in the right direction and we decided to sail through the night. The Monitor was steering beautifully under staysail and trysail, and the wind had picked up enough to move us along at 2-3 knots! We figured that if we sailed through the night, we would gain an extra 20 nautical miles south towards the Bahamas!
This plan was good in theory, but that's as far as the good went.