Start of the night watch, beginning of the new day. Moon shines over the calm seas, engines roar, staysails set, steering northwards to get off the shadow of the island affecting the winds around. T-shirts and light jackets are enough now. Or that’s what we thought. First, several icebergs are spotted on our way, then clouds start darkening the night, at the same time gradually the wind picks up. Overcast conditions that will last for the whole day. All coming together with a sudden drop in the temperature, both water and air. A reminder that those waters are still at the northern limit of the Polar Front, under the influence of the Antarctic System.
Crew climbs aloft and unfurl the remaining sails, down on deck we gather to brace the yards from Close Hauled to Broad reach and start setting all canvas straight away. 12 to 14kn of Westerly wind are enough fill them up, engines are turned off and the Europa sails again
Every sail that is bent-on is set. Steady fair breeze all along the journey, make for a regular gently sailing at 4 to 6kn in a good course towards Tristan da Cunha.
From the regular setting, just the Gaff Topsail is undergoing repairs in the Library, once more reconverted on a sailmaker loft. The ones with sailmaking training in both of the Permanent Crew watches are sewing, with some of the voyage crew to help.
Voices are starting to be heard whispering for more canvas… Studding-sail gear is started to be sorted out. Their several lines and blocks have been packed away for a while, with all its bibs and bobs waiting to be rigged again for ocean crossings in areas with more chances for following and lighter winds. Conditions not really to be expected yet, sailing the waters barely a couple of hundred miles from South Georgia, still into the so called and feared latitudes of the Furious 50’s.
Photo by Ricky Simko