More motor sailing and then just plain motoring as the wind dropped to near zero. More flat surface seas on long-period ocean swells. A very hot day, but we were back in the Gulf Stream, and getting a nice northward push from the current. Meals continue to be terrific: good coffee that Jordan brought for breakfast, a ploughman’s lunch, curried lentils for dinner, the last of Elsa’s chocolate cake for dessert.
We again shut the engine down at 5 p.m. Another boat, the 25-meter sailing vessel Hermie Louise, bound for Newport, was kind enough to hail us on the radio, concerned that our rapid deceleration from 6+ knots to just under 3 was a sign of trouble. No, just checking our oil level, we told them.
Just a couple of minutes later a pod of five dolphins appeared, swimming toward EXIT from the starboard bow and then cavorting alongside for the next 45 minutes! Best as we can tell from our “Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises – The visual guide to all the world’s cetaceans” handbook, these were Bottlenose Dolphins. They seemed very curious about us and the boat, rolling on their sides to get a better look and occasionally rolling on their backs to slap the water with their flukes. Elsa immediately began naming them: Exit, Rainbow (for the rainbow formed in the spray from their blowhole), Finn, Shark (they all had shark-like curved dorsal fins), and Sea. They would swim away from the boat or dive straight down and then return, cruising in our bow wave, criss-crossing under the boat. One seemed a bit like a teenager, grabbing at bits of seaweed with its beak or catching it with its fluke. We could hear them vocalizing. Eventually they drifted off and we sat down to dinner.
Thankfully — and potentially the result of the dolphins’ good omen — our luck changed (and/or the forecasted wind finally filled in) and we were able to sail all night, starting with a poled-out Genoa, going wing-on-wing, then broad reaching with just the main for most of the night, making a current-assisted speed-over-ground of 7-8 knots. Glad that we’re getting to experience a bit of the middle-of-a-long-passage euphoria, the feeling that you could keep going like this forever, although Elsa declared that she was starting to get seasick, as in “sick of the sea”.
Still sailing now, close reaching in 8 knots true wind and making 7 knots over the ground. Going to be hot again today, but we hope that the breeze will hold. 140 nautical miles to Beaufort.
All is well.