The boat gybed itself an hour later, and good thing that I had put a preventer on the boom. I set the sails to the new tack and soon we were headed NE. I expected the wind to keep backing. Then the boat gybed again and I gave up trying to get Jeff to steer on a wind that had dropped to below 8 knots. I started the engine and valiantly tried to keep the mainsail up during the run in the hopes that the wind would come up but the incessant thrashing of the sail bothered me enough to drop the sail altogether and we continued motoring toward MdP. I ran the engine for 2 hours in the relatively calm waters thinking of it as a double charging run. When I finished the engine run we had a nice little 12 kt breeze from the SE so I rolled out the headsail and soon we were headed almost due north at 3.2 knots. I would decide on raising the mainsail later.
At noon our position was 40S06, 056W46, giving us a n-n distance of 86 miles in the direction 329T. We were on the continental shelf, 136 miles from MdP, and within 6 miles of crossing lat 40S. I was very satisfied with the result, which had been achieved in moderate to light winds and relatively calm seas. It had been a cloudy and drizzly morning, but the sky was beginning to clear.
After several hours of very light winds where the headsail was having trouble coping it picked up to about 10 knots and I was able to raise the mainsail for the night, when I expected stronger, though still very moderate, winds. The wind had clocked around from the north to the west, the south, and now it was from the east. It would continue backing to the north and I expected to do some beating. For now we were on a beam reach heading precisely toward MdP at 3.5 knots knots. There was nothing to complain about.
Just before 6 PM local time we crossed lat 40S and were now in the 30's. Reaching the 30's had seemed like such a distant and desperate goal during the difficult early days after turning the boat toward Argentina, and now it had actually happened and I was feeling much, much better about our prospects.
We were 125 miles from MdP.
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