ARC Rally, Day 4

After more than 16 hours of motor sailing in ghosterlies from .5 to 3 knots, the breeze finally filled in from the west just before sunset last evening. We unfurled the jib and were sailing at about 80% of wind speed in breezes from 4 to 8 knots. Happy hour was all the more happy with the engine silent and Moonshadow sailing on her course to the waypoint in calm seas. A bottle of bubbles was popped to celebrate the breeze and George’s birthday.
Sailing throughout the evening was extraordinarily comfortable. The only indications that we were not swinging on the hook in a dead calm anchorage was that there was a 5 degree heel angle and the slight sound of water passing along the hull.
For dinner Charles barbecued fillets from the mahi-mahi we had caught that morning. Merima rounded out the meal with sides of a stir fry of zucchini and peppers and rice infused with coconut milk.
After dinner Merima produced the huge birthday cake she had made from scratch (thank God for the Edmonds Cook Book), replete with an icing drawing of Moonshadow with her Southern Cross kite up. The cake was yummy and washed down with an assortment of aperitifs.
The festive mood continued for a few more hours with some comedy and music. The great thing about partying in the middle of the ocean is that you can blast Kevin Bloody Wilson and AC/DC on the stereo without offending anyone.
The breeze backed around throughout the evening so we continued to steer up to keep the pace on. At 0800 the skipper fired up the genset, a not-so-subtle way of awakening the crew so we could put up the spinnaker and make a bit more southing.
With the kite set and trimmed and Moonshadow moving along nicely, we were about to have a coffee break when a pod of dolphins came up and played in our bow wake for about half an hour.
Shortly after the dolphins departed, a pod of pilot whales lumbered by, crossing our path both ahead and astern and largely ignoring our presence.
The weather continues to be almost too nice. Daytime temperatures are now around 26˚ C/80˚F and skies have been mostly clear. A 2 meter/6 foot swell is coming from the west but at 13 seconds frequency, is almost unnoticeable on board.
While Thanksgiving has little significance to most of the crew, we’re all looking forward to a turkey dinner tonight. Merima found one without the bones, so it fit nicely in the freezer.
Going has been relatively slow due to light breezes, so our noon to noon run was a bit off the pace at 141 miles. Our noon position was 19 deg. 52 min. north by 22 deg. 45 min. west.
The Cape Verde islands are at least another day’s sail to the southwest and with some adverse winds on the same line of latitude, we’ve got to figure out how much further south we must sail before find the trade winds so we can hit the right blinker and head due west to St. Lucia.

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