We had left Ponta Delgada with a forecast of light to moderate winds for the first four days, and this held true. In fact, we had Force 3 and 4 from the east for most of the first eight days and were beginning to wonder if things could really be this easy!
Then we crossed 48 degrees N, the pressure began to fall, and our first gale, from the northeast, was upon us. Since it was coming from the direction we wanted to go in, it was a straightforward decision to heave to and wait it out. You can see from the video clip below, taken while hove-to, that things were actually pretty calm on board. I got a bit of a jolt at the end and lost it, but it gives a fair impression.
We spent a comfortable night hove-to (actually got more sleep than usual) among high seas before things moderated and we got under way again, only to encounter a second gale a day later. This time, it was from behind so we ran in front of it for a while, then hove-to again. In total, we spent 25 hours hove-to on the trip.
This was the first time we had experienced full on gales on board Fettler, and it was a very positive experience. She hove to beautifully, and we felt safe inside.
Things were decidedly damp after the two gales, but luckily the next day was beautifully sunny, and we managed to dry out and had a great run past the Fastnet Rock and into Baltimore, a wonderful natural harbour with a cute, colourful village.
More later - we will spend tonight on a mooring buoy as the weather is picking up and then continue towards the Isle of Man tomorrow afternoon.