Passage from Ascension to Grenada - Part 2

Day 14  

A ‘plodding along nicely' kinda day.  Actually it was superb passage making conditions. Beam reach, flattish seas, 15k breeze and 1.5k current. If only we could have unleashed all available power, we could have had a record breaking 250nm day. Anyway we were prudent under the circumstances and nursed the boat along under well reefed main and genoa, which we unfurled and re-furled by degrees according to the wind strength.  A very hazy sun all day but no rain – enough sun however to keep the batteries topped up.   

This morning we've picked up a bit more current – around 2 knots which is good because the wind has dropped and gone behind a bit! This makes the small reefed main less useful as we can't let it out very far. It looks like there will be less wind more from behind for the last few days, so it would be nice to make the most of what we have now. Thinking of ideas – need to change the batteries in the slide rule!  Thin cloud again, but might brighten as the morning progresses.

Date and time: 1st Mar 2016 0800 GMT;    24 hours distance:   216nm;    Position: N07:36:569 W053:30:733  

Day 15  

Another perfect passage making day even though there was not that much sun about – but enough to charge batteries!  Positive current began to drop off later in the evening and is now down to less than 0.5 knot with wind from the east, meaning slower progress expected over the next few days, though only 335nm to go!  Pulled out a bit more mainsail yesterday but restricted by the ‘rope shrouds' as to how far it will go.  Reefed it and the genoa back in for the night.  

Had noddies hitching a lift again on the solar panels.  Part of the night we had clear sky and could actually see both the southern cross and the plough very clearly.  

Date and time: 2nd Mar 2016 0800 GMT;    24 hours distance:   202nm;    Position: N08:57:697  W056:37:370

Day 16  

Lovely day yesterday if a bit slow.  Wind switching forward and aft a bit so we had the genoa poled out at one point but we're now back to a 2 sail reach.  I got up for my watch at 1am only to discover that Matt was hand steering – the autohelm had packed in about 15 minutes before.  Fortunately we have a complete second system for just such occasions, so he dug in the aft locker and switched it over – phew!  The wind has been light but fairly steady and the seas very calm most of the night, though the forecast is for even less for a period before getting up a bit tonight. We are less than 90nm from the north tip of Tobago, then it's only another 90nm to Grenada . Lets hope we can continue to ghost along without recourse to the iron jib!  

Date and time: 3rd Mar 2016 0800 GMT;    24 hours distance:   162nm;    Position: N10:22:511 W058:56:411  

Day 17  

Another pleasant day, though very little wind. No surprise really as that was the forecast. So close, yet so far! Started motor sailing late morning until early evening, then had a spell sailing slowly before another session under engine late evening. Unfortunately what little wind there was, was from right behind, making it of little use and shifty. Finally got sailing reasonably well in the early hours of Friday morning, but always a bit patchy so only doing 5-6k.

We passed within 5 miles of the north end of Tobago , the first land we've seen in 17 days, and lots of lights. Currently poled out in a light easterly with about 30nm to go, so should be at anchor in Prickly Bay around lunch time celebrating the completion of our circumnavigation.  

But it will be a double celebration – today is Matt's birthday – Happy birthday Matt.  On his birthday last year we were in Tasmania – a mere 15000nm from here!

Date and time: 4th Mar 2016 0800 GMT;    24 hours distance:   154nm;    Position: N11:43:018 W0618:09:318

4 Mar 15.15 Arrival Prickly Bay , Grenada

Total distance: 3150nm; Total time 17 days, 7 hours and 15 minutes; Avg speed 7.59