Beating, Spirits and the Cool Jazz Sounds

1,721 views  |   January 21st, 2020 

In today’s blog, the crew are sailing upwind and tacking (also known as beating) towards the Azores. It’s hard work and slow-going, but their spirits remain high. The blog goes on to vividly and accurately describe the sounds and the feel of being at sea in these challenging conditions.


20-JAN and all is well

Last night was something of a challenge; the wind was sustained in the high 30s, gusting into the 40s and as high as 50 knots. There was a consistent drizzle, punctuated by more serious rain. Ploughing through waves in the dark of night, fresh water dripped from the bill of our caps and sea water arched in from the side. With cold damp clothes, under our foul weather gear spirits remain relatively warm, at least for the first couple hours of watch. Helming is like an arcane arcade game, trying to minimise movement of the helm to avoid large adjustments that require some oscillation to regain course.

Sometimes the wind whistles through the rigging resulting in a sound like a repeating cord from a pan-flute. Add to that the resonant bass as water clears a through hull fitting like a base guitar with only two notes. Put the two together and you can imagine a cool jazz sound in a smoky warm bar, sipping from a tumbler with two fingers of scotch, neat.

The sun was out today, which made for good spirits on deck, but the sea state was such that it was still a challenge down below. We are currently tacking windward toward Horta, making frustratingly slow progress toward the 350 nm or so that remain.


Current Position at 0600 21 January 2020

Current Position at 0600 21 January 2020


Skipper’s Log


Date monday 20th Jan, 2020
Time : 1200 GMT (1000 boat time)
Position : 36 53’N    36  08’ W
Destination : Horta, Azores
ETA : 22st Jan
Sailplan : 3 reefs, storm stay, Y3

Apparent wind: 25 gusting 30kts

SOG 7kts
Fuel : 2 full, 1 in use, 1 empty
Water : 2  full, 1 in use 1 empty – watermaker now switched off
Gas : 2 full, 1 in use, 2 empty


All good if you like being at an angle and waves over the deck!!! Crew all used to it now and looking forward to eventually seeing Horta and realising what land feels and smells like again.


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More blogs about this Atlantic Adventure can be read here: Antigua to Portsmouth

Posted by: First Class Sailing


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