Wednesday Afternoon, July 7, 2021
Latitude 49o 02’ N
Longitude 29o 10’ W
As reported in the last blog on Monday evening, July 5th, we were prepared to concede that there was no hope for wind and let the boat drift through the night. No sooner had that blog been sent than the winds returned, as if to reward us for our intended patience. By 11 pm we were sailing smoothly, pushed along by a moderate breeze from the Southeast. Then, as if to further compensate for lost time, the winds continued to build throughout yesterday until last night the Lillian B was powering over the waves, driven by 35 plus knots of wind.
As the winds stiffened to over 30 knots and darkness fell, the crew collectively hoped they would slacken but we weren’t particularly anxious because the boat was handling the conditions so well. We’d put two points of reef in the main sail, greatly reducing its surface area, and we were flying the staysail instead of the large genoa on the forward shroud. As a result, the boat was well balanced, with virtually no weather helm. Being well trimmed, the wheel only required a gentle touch, and the mechanical autopilot was able to stay on course despite the high winds and following seas. Standing watch amounted to sitting in the shelter of the dodger and keeping an eye on how well the autopitot was doing while watching phosphorescence foam streak by the boat.
As David took over the 2am watch from Brimmer, I raised my head and noted a 40 knot gust on the wind gauge. Since it wasn’t my watch, I left it for him to handle and call us if he needed any help. Rolling over against the lee cloth that keeps me from falling out of my bunk, I let the boat bounce me back to sleep. By the time David’s watch was over, the winds had in fact laid down, but not before we’d clocked a 159-mile day.
We’re now 767 miles from landfall.