Ngahue IV - Ngahue IV - Slowly approaching Horta!
Weather systems are there to test the yachtsman's patience, endurance and skill in reaching a destination without said yachtsman jumping off his vessel in frustration beforehand. Whereas yesterday started with excellent sailing weather to reach Horta, we subsequently encountered a sharp squall in the afternoon which must have scared away the decent wind that we were enjoying. At first our wind stuck its tail between its hind legs and scarpered off northwards; there it must have cut itself into three, because when it came back it was less than a third in strength and had turned into a pure westerly. So, nothing that would make our rather heavy craft move forwards at any rate of knots. Together with our accompanying Dutch friends (see my previous post), we decided on a new course (of action) involving the likes of Volvo-Penta...
This continued until early this morning, when another squall hit us. Fortunately, it mustered the missing windy knots, and rustled up a new usable northerly wind of some 12-14/15 knots. Hurray: we're back sailing again. But as I said before, a sailor, like a farmer, is never contented. We're on a port tack now :-((. It was the block and tackle from our port running backstay that I'd "cannibalised" to jury rig a restrainer on our backstay after the hydraulic backstay tensionner started to leak (it has since stopped - typical!). So I'm kinda leery to have too much wind pressure on our rig coming from the port quarter. Additionally, we're limited to a mainsail with the equivalent of 2-3 reefs (any more mainsail will rub against the starboard running backstay). To keep the boat balanced, we can't use a full genoa either. But what the heck - we're still making good time.
Well, we're happy, even if it now seems clear that we won't make the Thursday finish deadline. Horta is pretty near now - only as far as from our normal marina to Brighton and back ;-)). And there are three big ships on our AIS; not just the two Dutch yachts!
With our best wishes to the ARC Fleet that I imagine is already discovering the nooks and crannies of Horta. Life could definitely be worse...