There is no doubt, we had better days at sea compared with the last 28 hours. Although the overall wind forecast was okay, it turned out slightly different. The dead zone behind the island of Pico has got its on challenges and is a long and wide zone. From gusts to no wind in seconds combined with wind shifts of more than 90 degree are not very entertaining. These were the first 50nm. The second 50nm, once we had left the dead wind zone, were okay but the wind increased steadily gusting over night close to 40kn, much more than predicted. Scattered showers gave the atmosphere the extra kick. Waves piling up. It was that very particular moment in the morning hours, when our newly spliced tackle blew off and the foresail flattered uncontrolled up in the air. Damned. What’s next?

Radioed my fellow sailors on SY Northstar, that I have to slow down to fix a broken sheet line. Not sure how, as it is out of reach on the foredeck with the bow jumping up and down in a chaotic sea state.

Back under the cockpit tent I made a plan. In the meantime the boat sailed under main sail only, in 2nd reef at 4kn only but on course. Not too bad but painful compared to the 7-8kn we had before.

The buoy-hook was the solution. A device I never used before but forms part of our inventory. Inventory of the category: you never know, better get one! We have plenty of that.😅

With the help of the buoy-hook I managed to get the sheet lines back fixed to the eye of the sail hanging up in the air and we were almost happy. Almost, because the weather was still disgusting and the wind and sea state at that time did not allow for proper sailing anymore. High sea with insufficient wind straight onto the stern. Predicted were 350 TWD and not 295 TWD! What a shame. Bugger off.

The engine took over, for the by then last 30nm, to get into PDL.

The welcome could not have been better. The Gorch Fock greeting SY Hullu Poro at the entrance of the harbour into Ponta Delgada and a cultural potpourri of German, Austrian and Israel fellow sailors accepting my lines at the pontoon.

All forgotten. Sailing is great!

Fair winds…

PS: I take some sleep now.

German Tall Ship Gorch Fock in Ponta Delgada.