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Motoring against the abating winds and seas

Last night our speed started to decrease. 5 knots, 4, 3 even less. The wind eased down too but a Southwesterly 15kn should fill up our sails and pull us a tad faster than that.  

Sailing on our Southeasterly course we have been slowly moving away from the coast towards more open waters. Just where we started to be affected by the Falkland Current. This surface waters flowing northwards now right on our nose are the cause of the speed drop. So about midnight, right with the start of the new day, a change of course is decided to a more Southwesterly direction. This represents a parenthesis on the progress under sail as we steer straight into the 12kn of wind that blows by then. The engines roar and all squares are doused and furled. 

Luckily it didn’t take much time to start attaining some more speed and get away from the strongest effects of the current against us, helped too by the calming seas. 

A sunny morning welcomes us on deck, now with just some staysails set and well sheeted and a rig showing the squares stowed away. They will remain like that until late in the evening when the breeze becomes better for setting them and keep a good course towards our destination at Falklands.  

With the swell abating, the motion of the ship became gentler and gentler, allowing for the crew to run around on deck, indoors and aloft as well, busy on some maintenance projects and rig checks. Both in the deckhouse and hands-on ropes on deck, sail training talks and explanations are combined with lectures by our guides on the different oceanic wildlife that we have already come across during the sailing or that we will most probably see soon. 

The blue skies and calm conditions make too for having more hands available and more people showing up, overcoming yesterday’s dip on the seasickness… though some still holding on to the designated famed and infamous Europa yellow buckets, you can guess their use… As Hartford mentioned after 10 days on the ship ‘Nimrod’ with Shackleton in his 1907 Antarctic Expedition, “Some of us are over the seasick stage and no longer want to die”. 

The engines keep propelling us until nighttime when we can all feel the wind coming back. We have found again a fair breeze for our intended course. Now blowing from a Northerly direction, then veering to a more Northeasterly, make starlight away for an uplift on the mood of the more salty sailors aboard that call and join for pulling the braces to Beam Reach and climb up the rig to start unfurling canvas, which soon is gradually set. First Top Sails, then Top Gallants, followed by Courses and adding to the Outer Jib to the staysails that were already set while we were motoring the whole day. It is time to sail again. 

Written by:
Jordi Plana Morales | Expedition Leader

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