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Entering the Eastern Hemisphere, passing from West to East

Crossing the South Atlantic today we reached the point of crossing from the Western hemisphere to the Eastern. Europa enters under sail the half of the planet that is east of the Prime Meridian (also called Greenwich, in England). On that side of the world Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia are located. In contrast with the Equator, this line comes from an arbitrary convention, established in 1884.

Last night and during the morning we haven’t experienced many changes on wind and sailing conditions. We woke up to covered skies and grey weather with a bit of drizzle, but it gradually improved during the morning. At breakfast time we were steering 075º at 8 kn, under 22kn of N by W wind. Squares all the way up to the Royals are set and in the head rig is all set to the Outer jib as well. Upper staysails, Gaff and Flying jib are stowed away. `

After coffee time many of us gather in the Deckhouse to join Don doing his talk on “Home and belonging” where he explores the nature of alienation and belonging, defined as to be at ease with oneself in the world, to have a sense of oneself as having a place or a community. And while he is talking with us, the wind drops to 14-15kn and, as it has been backing during the previous hours, now blows from a NW-ly direction. Sun tries to shine between the clouds as well. We change course a bit northwards, now steering on a 060º course. With all those changes, Europa is braced squarer to a point between Beam and Broad Reach, still on Port tack. We clue up the Port half side of the Main course, to allow wind to pass through reaching the forward sails. Fore Top mast staysail is taken down and furled and the Spanker in the Mizzen mast too. On that new situation her speed dropped to 5kn.

The crew takes this good chance with improving weather and with the ship not heeling so much to Starboardside like during the night and morning, to keep on going with some maintenance projects and to rig the blocs for the Studding Sails at the end of the recently rigged booms. After lunch here it came the announced and awaited “Pinrail Chase and Sail setting”. During the last days we all have been walking around decks studying the rope and pins distribution, and the first part of this contest took place today, to be continued once we reach Cape Town, with a second phase. For the moment Red watch is leading the game. Mark and Katelyn from the permanent crew also participated but with an adding difficulty like being blindfolded or tied up.

After having some fun on deck, it was time to set more canvas, and soon Europa sails at a speed of 5kn with all her sails set, on slightly backing winds from the NW, on a 065º course, leaving the Roaring 40º’s to the South. Then Aaron repeats the talk on Navigation he did yesterday. On this fashion we spend the afternoon, and when its time for our daily eight o’clockie meeting, Harko informed us that we have 930nm to our arrival in Cape Town, having sailed 161nm during the last 23h (we changed the clock, one hour forward). Wind forecast says that it will increase gradually during the night and for tomorrow we expect strong winds again.

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