May 6

Last night we motored all night in light air with the main up. It was a pleasant night, despite the fact that the engine was running so it was like having a freight train idling in your bedroom. I slept like a rock from 9-11pm and again from 2-5am (Kate is now taking the 9-11pm watch and the 2-5am watch, I take the 6-9pm, 11-2am and the 5am-7am watches.

At noon we are 234nm from S. Minerva reef, having covered 636 miles so far. Today is one of those perfect sailing days you dream about but never (ok, rarely) find. The sun is shining, though it is not hot by any means - we are still at 27 degrees latitude - the sea is relatively calm and the breeze is a steady 12-17k from the ESE. We are making a good 7 knots and are heading a bit more to the East then before as I have been spooked by the wind changing so fast from SW to East and we are still West of our destination! Right now we can easily point 10 or 20 degrees higher then our target, but if the wind goes into the NE instead of East then we may find ourselves unable to reach Minerva without messy upwind tacking, which could have been avoided.

Next time I would get more Easting in earlier. Its not like the thought didn't occur to me, but I just thought I had more time till the wind went dead into the East like this. For now though, this is one of the finest days of sailing we have seen. If things would only stay just exactly like this for 2 more days (he he).

It is now 2pm and we are doing very nicely in 10-12k from the East making about 6k over ground on a heading of about 19 True. The wind has shifted all day between East and ESE, sometimes even venturing up to ENE - and making it difficult for me in the process or laying Minerva without sailing on a close-hauled. We are on a fairly close reach as it is with the wind about 55 degrees off the bow. If the wind goes around any more to the North we will be unable to point high enough, unless we motor sail, which is an option. Of course, we had many hours today with the wind in the ESE and SE even and during those periods I took advantage and gained a bit more easting, so I figure it will work out fine if these conditions remain.

By 3pm the wind had died to 8k and we were ghosting along at 3.5k. By 4pm we were motorsailing and at 5pm we dropped the mainsail as a series of squalls were coming, none of which ended up producing any wind it turned out.

At 7pm, after dinner, we hoisted the main again (with one reef in just in case) and at 8pm we are sailing again in 10k of wind from the SE making 5 - 5.5k over ground on a course of app. 20T.