We are currently in position 17 47S 70 02E sailing at 6 knots on a course of 260M. The wind is 15 knots from the SE with a 1m sea, short 2m SE swell and long 2m SSW swell. We are sailing under single-furled yankee and single-reefed main. Our day's run was 146nm and we have 400nm to go.
Yesterday morning the wind built steadily until by noon we had 26-28 knots gusting 30+ from the SSE. We took the opportunity to try out the staysail (= storm jib) and it worked very well. Being lower it reduced heeling significantly. However we found that downwind in the wind at the time it didn't produce enough power with the double-reefed main to keep the boat moving at 6 knots so we returned to the triple-furled yankee after an hour. We try to keep the boat moving at around 6 knots since she seems to take the waves more gently and requires less autopilot steering action.
The wind started easing late in the afternoon. By mid-evening we were back to full yankee and single-reefed main with around 15 knots of wind. Our course has been all over the place during the last 24 hours as we've tried to keep the boat moving in varying combinations of wind and sea state. With lighter winds and leftover sea we have to head up substantially to keep the sails full and driving, and to minimise rolling. We're trying to stay north of the rhumb line since ESE winds are expected.
Yesterday evening a new boat was added to the sked. Tuuletar is an Australian yacht currently on passage from Broome to Christmas Island. They were 2300nm away from us but we managed to exchange information on 8MHz. I think that's the longest range yacht to yacht voice contact we've ever had from Zen Again.
Last night we had an almost full moon which was very spectacular. After midnight it formed a nice "staircase to Rodriguez" which lasted almost til dawn. In the early hours of the morning we crossed paths with a large cargo verssel bound for South America. They changed course to pass a mile astern after we called them on VHF to check they could see our AIS signal. Big ships look quite close at night at one mile range! The Chinese OOD had very good English and was very courteous.
Trust all's well where you are!