Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Restful, but slow

It's been a much easier, though slower 24 hours, the swell has become a gentle undulation from the repeated cliffs I dropped off in the first few days. It feels like I've escaped coastal effects and am slowly settling into the rhythm of life at sea. After the abundant traffic around the Straits of Gibraltar it's amazing how few boats there are out here. I might see a couple a day if I'm lucky. That said it's not completely desolate, I had to alter course to avoided the Gettysburg Seamount where the depth changes from 4500m - 50m in 20 miles and no doubt creates a nasty sea in its vicinity. To the south of the seamount were plenty of birds - I guess it was good fishing, though I actually took in the line, not wanting to hook a bird, so still no fresh fish onboard.

After far too much motoring in the windless Mediterranean, it's great to be sailing again, even if I'm not currently setting any speed records. I've full main and genoa up again, though most of the today I've been making under 5 knots.

The route from Gibraltar to the Azores is one of the few times I've seen a difference between the rhumb line course and the great circle course; 990 miles vs 980 miles. OK not hugely significant, though the course looks quite different when plotted on the chart. Explanation: a great circle course is the shortest distance between any two points; a rhumb line is a straight line on a mercator projection chart between any two points. It only really becomes significant at high latitudes. For example when travelling between London and New York. As I'm having to sail where the wind allows, this is all purely academic.

Position @ 13:15 GMT: N36deg18' W11deg50'
Distance to the Azores: 668
Daily run: 97

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