2056 UTC, 17/42N 37/39W, 9.3kts @ 343T, 25 knots wind ENE. Thirty years ago I sailed downwind in the trades from the Canaries to Barbados. I was impressed by how steady they were, in velocity, direction, and cloud cover. Now, crossing these same trades, I'm impressed with how erratic they are: 12-28 knots of wind, direction varying by 25 degrees, and cloud cover looking like an impending storm nearly all the time. It's totally different.
Last night, with 30+ knots across the deck, went to storm jib and 3 reefs in the mainsail. As I've commented before, our staysail is too big, and we can't carry it when we should be able to, so we have to go down all the way. It’s a huge reduction in size from the staysail to the storm jib. But with 30 knots of wind and the storm job, we were still making 10 knots, so it was OK. And it gave me some confidence to know that if I was resting and a squall came through, I didn't have to suit up and jump on deck to deal with it. I actually got into the bunk for maybe the second time since Cape Horn, and I slept for somewhere between 15 and 60 minutes, not sure, but it felt good. Of course at daybreak, the wind died to 12 knots, and just when I was going into the bunk for nap #2, I had to go put away the storm jib and roll out the staysail, so that pretty much woke me up for the day.
Now I’m working on drinking fluids, eating food, and getting rest. More of the same for the next couple of days, and then a very strange and complex weather scenario to try to negotiate.