The Maiden Factor Blog

Maiden is a Global Ambassador for the Empowerment of Girls through Education

A beautiful Maiden Monday – by Erica Lush

This beautiful Monday morning is going great so far. The last hours of night are extremely dark so we took the kite down at the beginning of my watch as a safety precaution. However it was no major loss as we had nice wind to carry us with the JT, and at first light we had a very nice A2 set with my watch partners (Heather, April, and Marie) plus a just-woken-up Sharon. I stayed on for an extra 40 minutes to enjoy the ride, as we are hooning along downwind at the upper wind limit for the kite. Very fun helming with this crew as company! Woohoooo.

This past week we sailed through the Canary Islands on our way South and Southwest towards the trade winds. We passed 3 nm to windward of La Palma which we were warned was still smoking from the Volcano! We altered our course to pass to windward in order to avoid the ash in the air for the sake of our boat and our lungs. We even got a bit of cheeky cell reception for some crew members to call home! An added bonus.

One morning the sun rose to reveal a small Catamaran to leeward on a reciprocal course. They hailed us on the radio to say hello! They were excited to pass so close to another sailing boat, as they are nearing the end of their leg from Cape Town to Las Palmas (Gran Canaria). We have some very sweet exchanges with strangers sometime at sea.

We have been pretty lucky with wind and have had minimal motoring. Our wind speeds have been mostly in the teens with some low 20’s – pretty nice sailing really! We continued making our way South as fast as possible to avoid a no wind area, and finally cut the corner to start heading West yesterday! It feels great to be pointing in the right direction, and extra great that we are making terrific speed right now on that course.

We have some interesting clouds around us so Amalia, who has been reading up on Meteorology, is sharing her new facts with us and helping us analyse what we see around us. Heather is at the helm, Marie is standing by kite trim, Sharon on mainsail trim, and April and I are off to bed! Ami and Lucy are hopefully fast asleep getting rested for their next watch in a few hours. Helming with the kite up takes a lot of focus so sleep is very important for us!

That’s me done and I’m off on the same mission.

Fair winds,