We are currently in position 36 48N 040 52W, saillng at 6.5 knots on a course of 085M. The wind is NNW at 24-28 knots with a 2m sea and 3m+ swell. We are sailing under double-reefed main and triple-furled yankee. Broken cumulus cloud. Our day's run was 135nm, our DMG was 102nm and we have 592nm to go. Less than a Sydney Hobart!
Yesterday afternoon the wind gradually built up to 20-25 knots in the evening before easing in the small hours. At dawn it was down to less than 15 knots. Since then it has gradually built again and we're currently romping along.
We had a bit of excitement last night when I found the tiller had about 5 degrees of "play" before it moved the rudder. Alarming. But then I thought through the possibilities and realised the most likely cause was the bolt which orients and holds the tiller bracket in line with the rudder shaft. After years of perfect service the s/s bolt had worked loose. It took two minutes to retighten it and all now seems well. Item added to inspection list!
We continue to see lots of Velella / Portuguese Men'o'War. We're now seeing them in fairly windy conditions too. Last night we had our first flying fish aboard since Bermuda. He must have been lost. Last night we also saw and heard dolphins playing around the bow. That's always a treat. The water temperature is now 18C. Twilights are becoming very noticably longer as our latitude gradually increases.
On the HF/SSB nets the boats are discussing the developing depression approaching our area from the west. It is due to pass to our north on Monday night and Tuesday bringing yet another cold front. We're watching the forecasts closely.
Western Australian yacht Taipan came up on the net a couple of nights ago. We came across them in Bermuda after last seeing them more than 10 years ago in WA. We both took part in the 2002 Fremantle to Darwin "Splash" event (we in our previous boat Degrees of Freedom). Nice to be in the same part of the world with them again.