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Day 5 + 6 – Maiden Update – Sharon Ferris-Choat

Day 5

We left Almerimar at 6pm last night to face huge waves again. What a night! We have not seen the moon yet, so it’s very dark at night. The wind did two 360 degrees turns of our Windex and then finally settled at 0200 from the north east. The waves finally flattened out and we enjoyed the glow of lights from Gibraltar on our right, and Algeria on our left.

We are currently off Gibraltar gybing downwind to the north of the TSS (traffic separation scheme). There are ships just everywhere and I am very happy to be here in daylight as it’s a special part of the world. This 14nm channel feeds all of the Mediterranean. 

We have been joined by dolphins dancing by our side for hours, beautiful! 14 NM before we say goodbye to land for a few weeks.

35 58.247N
08 59.381W
TWD 063
Boat Speed 9.4
Heading 282

What an incredible 24 hours on Maiden! We gybed 15 times through the Gibraltar Strait. We were gybing so much that everyone just stayed in position! Between gybe 3 and 4, Ami recorded our new top speed and Heather topped it again between gybe 13 and 14 – 17.6 knots down a big wave! We had 25 knots of wind directly behind us and we were bouncing off a very safe shore depth contour and the TSS. 

As we left the coast, we were discussing the VHF chatter. There was a lot of boats being told they had to be 12nm off the Coast of Spain, and then that flicked to Gibraltar telling these massive ships to leave. We finished our last gybe to goosse wing the staysail set up by Amalia, Lucy and Ami to try and not head too far north. We are pushing west to go anticlockwise around the second low pressure system that’s heading SE away from us, towards Africa. 

So from a surfing, a good feed and happy Maidens, I say goodnight as I go off watch and catch up on some sleep after a fun job navigating yesterday!

Day 6

34° 53.547N
12° 52.598
TWD 347
TWS 32.5 knots
Boat speed 11.5 knots
Sea state: rough

We are around the low as of 20 mins ago and we can head south to a warmer climate! Everyone is happy about that, as last night was very roll-y. We had a 3m swell from the north, which was side on to our west heading that was as low as we could sail with the wind still from 038°.

We can now head to the east of Madeira and West of the Canarias Islands to pickup the trade winds to get west. If we go too early we will run out of wind and 3,300 miles motoring is not an option for us. Everyone did a really good job last night considering how rough it was; sleeping was the safest place. Getting dressed to get on deck the hardest… actually no, cooking dinner was! But yet again Marie was tougher than the conditions. She won the battle and produced a lovely meal. 

Erica, April, Lucy and Ami are taking on our 1st squall while I write this. I can hear the rain on the cabin roof and am now thinking that the next squall has my name on it! 

I’m personally loving the navigation side of this adventure, putting the weather together with Predict Wind and Commander’s forecast, recording what actually happens. It’s great!

The girls just hit 17.5 knots of boat speed on course! Go girls!

So, let’s hope the wind stays in this direction after the squall to help us south. We always have interesting conversations on Maiden about what means what in the cultures of each member of the crew. We have 3 different names for the breaking part of the wave on top of the wave. We have White Caps, White Horses and Sheep! What’s it called from your part of the world?