In the morning we were still sailing under spinnaker. But today the horizon was not so spotless anymore; a distant but clear mark on the starboard bow was there. We consulted the AIS and radar; it was a 350 ft tall ship sailing slowly towards St Lucia, Sea Cloud. Before noon we caught him up. What an emotion on board to see someone else out here; we made a hundred picture of the ship, blew the horn a couple times and generally stared at what was disturbing our monochromic environment.
Sea Cloud, our companion for a couple hours across the Atlantic
We were approaching of the South of the low pressure and this could be felt; the wind picked up around 22 knots and shifted to 160 degrees. We swapped the spinnaker for the reacher, hoisted fully the mainsail and blasted along. This was from far our best day sailing wise.
We were all getting tripped up with the race against “Feliz”, a Lagoon 560 (4 m longer than us almost), which was trying to take our first place while sailing 100 NM further North than us. Over the last days he had been eating away the miles separating us. The problem was; we were going to be affected both by the low pressure later on tonight by entering an area of no wind, the winner would be the one finding wind the soonest…
Before night fall, we had a couple of rainy squalls (big dark clouds), one of them brought us some good wind and we surfed down a wave at 16 knots.
Spray everywhere as we surf down the waves at 16 knots under reacher and full mainsail
At night fall, the wind dropped… 6 to 7 knots on the nose. Unbelievable but true; we were now beating against the wind. A couple hours later the wind vanished completely. Each one on his watch tried to get some speed out of the boat not to start the engine. Indeed, every boat has to declare its engine hours upon arrival and are penalized by extra hours on the ranking. So was “Feliz” going to use his engine or not? We could not know.
It is in this anxious and exciting climate that the crew was trying to get some rest crossing the fingers for some wind. Today we had sailed 209 NM, so altogether 1803 NM.
Since 07h30 we were under engine, the sky was covered of all the different kinds of clouds you could imagine, but not one moving… so we had to start the engine…
Sun rise, 5 knots of wind, all the clouds are paralysed in the morning sky
Bad news, at the position report Feliz overtook us… Gaspar had to make a supreme effort for this news not to sadden his day. So after lunch we decided to stop the engines and go for a swim in the middle of the Atlantic.
5000 m of water and God knows what under you, your feet feel a bit tickely while you swim
Everyone was gently swimming along, diving from the boat, pretending they were sharks coming to eat the little feet floating around. James tried Rocio´s diving mask, hoping to see something else than blue blue and blue. Couple seconds later, calmly but urgently James asked everyone to get on the boat quick! He had seen something, something BIG.
Shark? Dolphin? Whale? Not a dolphin for sure, this thing was way to big. Hopefully not a shark either, it seems to peaceful… While Sara was shooting hundreds of pictures from the boat, trying to catch the fin as it came out the water, James and Gaspar relayed at the back of the boat, partly immersed, in an attempt to get some underwater movie of this, well these – they were two – unknown things! Later on we learned that they were Minke whales.
Skark? no… just a peaceful Minke whale
After spending a good hour filling up the memory cards, we left, under engine still. The rods were out, because for once we would not risk to loose our last lures motoring at 5.5 knots.And a couple minutes later we got the expected success! the starboard rod went in tension! We had caught our first tuna; not to big, not to small, probably 6 kg. It seemed like the Atlantic had reserved all its secrets and beauties for this day! So the end of afternoon was spent in sushi making.
Look at the happy face of these two grown up kids who just fullfilled their wish
Rocio carefully slicing the Tuna filets
After this good and copious tuna dinner, the wind came back. All excited we followed the wind as it shifted and built up by changing sails, hoping to catch up on Feliz which probably overtook us. The night was spent in the preparation of Thea´s birthday game; treasure hunt!
In the end today we motored 14 hours and did only 122 NM so altogether 1925 NM. Everyone was ultra mega happy after such a magic day, after all, we decided that being first did not matter next to the magical moments this no wind zone offered us.