1823 UTC, 32/26N 41/47W, 5.1 knots, @319T, solent and full main, broad reaching. Difficult 24 hours. As we weren’t making much progress, at 1-2 knots, thought best to try to cross the high-pressure ridge perpendicularly, to make the crossing shorter. As the ridge was stretched out northeast to southwest, we headed northwest.
Four times the wind changed direction to suggest it was coming in from the south or southwest, so we gybed four times, and then it did, but then it didn’t, so we gybed back. Eight gybes in all last night, all at 2-5 knots. Very frustrating. I tried to sleep at the chart table in between gybes, do the gybe, turn off the lights on the instruments so I couldn’t see them, and then go to sleep.
This routine worked well. I got some good naps, but I also awoke twice to the autopilot pilot off with the mainsail aback and solent aback when one of these wind shifts would come in. It was all a tease. We ended up this morning simply heading higher on a starboard tack up into the ridge. We were almost across the ridge, and then late in the afternoon had to gybe back northwest again because we were getting lifted right back up into the zero wind zone. As we move to the northwest, we should soon get headed up toward north.
Then the next huge high comes in with northeast winds. The weather file shows a giant depression in Bay of Biscay when we finally get out of the high here. Then we’lll see how to approach that situation.
The best thing about today is that it is my mother’s 93rd birthday – Happy Birthday Mom! My mother was the original adventurer in our family, going to Alaska to work at a radio station in Fairbanks in 1938. This was 20 years before the Alaskan Territory became a state. Her show was called “Tundra Topics”. When people nowadays go to Alaska as a great frontier, I wonder what it must have been like for a single woman to go there 70 years ago. And she thinks nothing of it! What an inspiration she is. We have a photo of her with a friend swimming in a lake there, with a distant shore of trees a mile or two behind, and on closer inspection, you see that the white in between the two swimmers and the shore in the distance is ice! There she was, my mom swimming in an ice-filled Alaskan lake! She looks as though she is working on her stroke! Elle est incroyable! Happy Birthday Mom! I love you very much and wish I was there with you today.