It's 09.20 and Porto Santo is about 140 miles behind us. We've made brilliant progress in a Force 5-6, close reaching with 2 reefs in the main and averaging about 7 knots. We've been watching the rain clouds with interest (and even seeing them on radar) as they deliver a real extra punch of wind when they approach. The noise of the water rushing past the hull when we try to get some off-watch kip is quite startling but we both managed to get some sleep in the bouncy conditions. On deck the stars were incredible during the night and we now have bright sunshine.
Stormvogel left a day ahead of us, to get to the boat yards of Gran Canaria for expert opinion on their engine, but we have another British boat, Rafiki, following us. Rob and Cally have their two children, Emily and James, aboard who are loving the sailing and exploring. We are too far apart (about 40 miles) to talk on the VHF radio(which has a range of about 15 miles) but both boats have long-range SSB sets (capable of bouncing transmissions off the ionosphere around the world; we can pick up ABC from Australia); selecting the 2MHz frequency range we have 200 mile range so Rob and Graham chatted at 08.00.
We have just picked up the weather forecast from the sat phone so it looks as though the wind will gradually reduce during the day and we'll probably have to motor for the last 12 hours or so. We hope to get into San Sebastian de la Gomera on Saturday afternoon.