Atlantic Island Voyage 1998: First Passage, 25 August

Captain's log, 8/25

Position: 40 degrees 15 minutes north, 59 degrees 24 minutes west
Heading: 130 degrees (southeast)

We have now entered the Gulf Stream, which should boost us by up to a knot over the next few days. Fortunately, the wind and current are both southwest, which avoids the unpleasant condition of wind against current. That is the situation which causes the nasty, vertical seas the Gulf Stream is famous for. We will soon be turning eastward to follow the 40th parallel for most of the passage to the Azores. Yesterday was a rocky, wet one with winds to 30 knots, and a contrary current due to a back eddy off the north wall of the gulf stream. We are back to moderately reefed sails now, in a brisk but pleasant SW wind at 20 knots.

Shifra is on watch now, and keeping an eye on Fleming, the wind vane that does most of our steering for us. He's a wonder, but takes more tending than Otto, our electric autopilot which we only use when under power because of the current consumption. Wind-powered steering is also more elegant in other ways, being quiet and more in harmony with the ethos of working with the wind.

It looks like we have dodged Hurricane Bonnie. Even if it turns northward at this point, we will be far to the east. For once, we can say that a hurricane blew safely ashore. Sorry, Miami, nothing personal.