Day 16 brings us dolphins, and hundreds of them. One dolphin school goes and the next would come soon. They even travel with us through the night! The baby dolphins move in perfect synchrony with their mums. The jumpers jump and the speedies make crazy quick changes in direction at fast pace. So good to see them!
What feels less good are the cold northerly winds. The air temperature is down to 16 degrees, with the wind chill further lowering it to estimated 12 degrees.
On the last day, we get head winds and this is when sailing becomes either fun or nasty, depending on the view. This time it is an uphill battle. True wind is at 25 knots which my doesn’t sound so bad, but it’s definitely far away from being comfortable. Waves break against the hull, the cockpit gets an ugly shower, and we have plenty of motion and noise inside the cabin.
The chilled Caribbean ‘ting’-lemonades stay in the fridge. Hot tea is the preferred drink now. The writing on the tea bag in German language says something about feeling well and cozy. But also two or three cups wouldn’t bring the Caribbean warmth back into the toilet seat. Everything feels cold and the last bit of Caribbean humidity can be found as condensed droplets on the cold aluminum frames of the windows, what a change 16 1/2 day on sea can do!
Since we were a bit lazy with adjusting the clock, we had to turn it forward by one hour, on four days in a row. That makes us sleeping long into the mornings. The good thing about getting considerably further north is that the evenings get longer before it gets dark. Oh how great this is!
After 2’420 nautical miles or 4’500 Kilometers on sea we are now reaching the outermost post of the Azores Islands. Those nine islands are still pretty far out in the Atlantic Ocean. They belong to Portugal and are part of the European Union, however the islands called Flores and Corvo geologically sit on the Northern American tectonic plate. That means that after Europe, Africa and Central America, our trip comes to a tiny little halt in North America ;-)!
Once more, YUANA did an outstandingly great job. Nothing broke so far on this crossing. So we could just focus on reaching our destination! That can by far not be taken for granted. Again: Great Hallberg-Rassy, apparently with appropriately performed maintenance. Touch wood.
The bigger compliment however goes to Manuela and the kids. Being at sea can be tough. Perhaps we wouldn’t have gone sailing, would we have known how tough such a crossing can be. Why? We wouldn’t have imagined that we can do it! And we did it and it was more all right!
Particularly the daughter wasn’t keen on sailing long distances. To relax, we gave her the option to fly from Azores to our next stop in France, would she be completely fed up with blue water cruising. Looking at her now, we see a pretty proud young lady who is aware of her achievement, with no further discussion about flight schedules. Isn’t that unbelievably great?!
On Flores, our extra crew Michael will leave the Yuana team. Michael experienced some though days with motion thickness. But finally and that is what counts, he realized his dream of an Atlantic Crossing, Congratulations!
We plan to stay a bit in the Azores, before sailing back to the continent.
Day 17: 60nm (approx)
Day 16: 130 nm