Despite two false starts, our friends still managed to give us an enthusiastic send-off and we reciprocated by performing an unintentional 360° pirouette much to the amusement of the assembled gathering. Other Rival owners confirm that going astern in a straight line is a feat few have mastered and certainly one we've yet to conquer.
We set off at 2pm Tuesday 6th, into a decent 15knot ENE breeze. The Islands in the Canaries have regions, typically around the north and south coasts where the wind can be accelerated by as much as 10-15knots. So we conservatively set sail with two reefs in the main and a half-furled genoa, in preparation for the worst excesses of the acceleration zone and made a good 5.5knots in the fresh breeze.
Hurricane Epsilon caused us some last minute doubts, its currently over 700n miles away. Since we were hit by Delta, we've been tracking Epsilon's progress - the predictions have been consistently showing it heading SSW/SW over the next few days and disappearing early next week.
It feels great to be finally off - effectively we're been preparing ourselves and Kika for the crossing for over 6 months. The excitement is also mixed with some trepidation about the enormity of the distance and the time at sea. Despite our recent set-backs we feel confident in Kika and in the knowledge that we could have fixed the problems at sea had we needed to.
George II, our trusty wind-vane self steering, has been doing most of the work since the start, freeing us up for sail faff, cooking and reading. All watches have gone to plan and Ellen's anti-seasickness drugs have been working as advertised.
We're currently heading SSW towards the Cape Verdes, where we hope to pick up the NE trades to blow us across to the Caribbean. We're making around 5knots with full main, and twin poled out head sails from a Easterly 10knot wind.
Position at local noon (13.00 12s UTC), N26° 43' W017° 07'