Last night was a bit trying, to be honest. We had a couple of rain squalls, bringing drizzle rather than heavy rain but each delivering big changes in wind direction that required us to gybe the boat. This process involves swinging the mainsail boom from one side to the other and then going up on the foredeck to refit the preventer line (which stops it swinging back accidentally). Once the main is gybed across, it's back up to the foredeck to disconnect the 3.5m long pole from the foresail, swing is across to the other side of the boat, connect up the new sheet and guys to it, hoist it into position and then pull the foresail across to the pole-end. At night, taking extra care, that's about a 20 minute job all told so it was frustrating to have to do it twice; it ate into our off-watch sleep time too.
As the dawn came up, the breeze went down, until we we rolling in the swell, sails slatting back and forth and Maunie only making about 3 knots; we started the engine at 07.30 and motored for a couple of hours. At the moment we're sailing again at about 4.5 knots and the weather forecast suggests that we'll be chasing fickle breezes all day. We can't afford to go too slowly as there is a front bringing adverse NE to N winds coming for us on Saturday – we want to arrive at Minerva reef before it does to give us the option of putting in there is necessary. However, it's very pleasant here just at the moment and the engine run has given us hot water for showers and hair washes.
Onwards into warmer waters!