Last evening finally the wind picked up and we could start enjoying again some fine sailing.
During the night and early hours of the morning it was blowing over 20 to 24 knots from the NE-ly quarter while the Europa started racing at 8 to 9 knots with all her canvas set. Before sunrise and checking that the wind was starting to back more and more, Port watch took away and furled the Skysails and Flying jib, having in mind that from then on we will have to keep bracing to Starboard tack gradually, until at some point during the day sail close hold again on a SW-ly direction. And that actually happened before lunchtime, when we get the ship ready to sail on that manner, bracing sharp, changing the tacks of the Courses, taking away their Whisker poles and dropping Deckswabber.
looking for shelter
Once all is ready we can feel the wind diminishing, as it keeps backing now blowing from the NW. As this happens a rain shower pass over us, and with it four different species of land birds decide to take a rest on our ship. What seem to be two finches and a bigger and coloured one, probably from the tropical Brazilian areas, blown off the land by the winds, as we are sailing more than 200 nm from the coast at the moment.
On board we have quite a lot of information and identification guides on Sea birds, Birds of Europa and Patagonia, but we lack identification books for those terrestrial birds, that sporadically land in the ship looking for shelter or a lift when they get tired or they are blown away offshore by storms and strong winds. So, any contribution to their identification will be very welcome!
At that moment we were experiencing the rear tail of a cold front that overtook us, and consequently we expect stronger winds in a while, together with clearer skies after the front pass us, and so it happened, after a short period of relative calm when the crew gathers to drink a coffee or a typical south American mate, and discuss jobs to do and ship’s preparations for heavier weather. But soon, when finishing lunch the wind quickly picks up, we are heeling heavily to Port side, and we rush to take away and furl some canvas.
During the afternoon onwards things get more interesting, with the wind coming up and down, making us busy on deck. During the evening and night we sail close hold on Starboard tack, in a backing strong wind, steady over 20 knots and sometimes gusting over 30. Healing heavily to Port side we sail at around 6 to 7 knots in the evening, but swell increases and slow us down to 3 to 4 knots later on, even if we deal with strong winds from the West, sailing on a SSW course.