The Fa Files...Nandor Fa updates us from Spirit of Hungary
7th Jan. early morning
Lots of thing has happened since my last update, and I had no time to write.
At dawn on the 4th near the Moroccan coast, a little breeze came in from the West. Change of sails, tacking upwind. We managed two very positive tacks which had brought us very close to the South coast of the strait.
My heart swelled with pride when I saw our following tacks having been pretty good on the tracker. We arrived at a counter-current of 3 knots, which worsened the angle by 25 degrees.
We were just doing our morning change at the time when tack was coming up, but the wind had turned downwind again so much that tacking had become senseless. We were sailing in a beautiful angle, in the right direction, in a wind that was becoming more and more southerly — until we faced the Spanish side of the Strait of Gibraltar.
From there, it was beating again until Tarifa and even further as we did not want to violate the rules on shipping lanes. By the time we had left the Strait and could finally turn to South, the wind had dropped away again. That was the time for our evening shift, and we had to decide what to do the light North-Westerly, or the Southerly. We chose to go South, and I went for my rest.
I was worried….., if the wind stops in the middle of the Strait, not only will we be sitting ducks in the middle of the busy cargo traffic, but the current will take us back into the Strait.
I woke up to C having been tacking more times, huge noise of working, rumbling. I jumped out in case he needed help. He was grinning from ear to ear, as we were moving in a light Southerly wind in front of Tangier on the other side. So, the Straits were done.
We were rushing to get further from the African coast - which is famous for getting stuck in there easily - in a light, changing wind. Fishing smacks, cargo ships, smaller boats, it was all there during the night –some of them without any lights, the other one flashing us with spotlights that I couldn’t see for minutes afterwards. This was how it went until dawn, as the wind was getting lighter. We couldn’t celebrate our freedom from the strait for too long, because there we were: stuck in one place again.
I had been tolerating the conditions for a while, but when the waves came out to us causing the whole boat to rattle and bounce and the small carbon bumper of the daggerboard broke the headsail causing a palm-size hole in it, I finally, finally lost it!
For the first time since the start - I’ve had enough, my string has snapped - although there was plenty of reasons for it to before that. I was proud that I’ve managed to bear all this for so long.
It was in the afternoon when the wind - which should have come earlier - had finally arrived. A3 gennaker up, it was heart-warming as we were running into the night.
Both of us were smiling from ear to ear, enjoying the speed — at times being 17 knots in 17 knots of wind. By dawn it had lightened, so we put up the A2 — 12 knots of wind, 11 kts of speed. Still not bad. The forecast says Northerly increasing, which is perfect for us, heading towards the Canaries where the head of the fleet is.
I don’t really follow their positions, I don’t want to poison my soul. We collected a 2-day delay in the Alboran that we still haven’t digested and so far there is no chance for catching up.
The Equator could be the place where we may win back some distance, but we also have the chance of losing even more — that is a lottery.
At the moment we are in line with Casablanca, 430 SM from Las Palmas. 33,53 N, 010,06 W.