Wednesday, August 20 – Day 14

Theme for the day: Relaxed.
Yesterday’s run (midnight to midnight) was the fastest yet: 172 miles. But we did it without breaking a sweat, all downwind, and much of it under our twin-genoa setup. We kept both sails flying through the night, and the calmer conditions made for a very pleasant ride.
Now that we are sailing towards the east, instead of the north, the moon rises at the bow of our boat, and this created a beautiful effect with our twin headsails and the patchy clouds. The morning broke with a heavy overcast, and the sky has remained grey all day. The temperature is pleasantly cool, and we have been able to open the hatches and ports to give the boat a much-appreciated airing-out.
Just after sunrise we decided to jibe the boat, since the wind had shifted, sending us north of our desired course which is now directly towards San Francisco. We dropped the whisker pole from the port genoa sheet, and re-repaired the extension line, then put it out on the starboard sail. We then shifted the boom over to port and used the end-of-boom block to hold out the port genoa. In this configuration we can sail a more southerly course. We reconnected the Monitor windvane and we have been sailing like this all day.
Minestrone. This was another high-point today aboard VALIS. Oliver made up a pot of minestrone soup, which we ate with saltine crackers for lunch. This is the action-packed thrill-a-minute life aboard VALIS. Dinner is now being contemplated. We’ve had fish tacos, chicken burritos,and fish burritos, but we haven’t yet had chicken tacos! Paul E. has decided to rectify this situation, and is now strenuously defrosting the chicken, which he will bake, slice, and marinate in two kinds of salsa. The seas are light enough that we will probably fry some tortillas for crispy taco shells. Complemented by cabbage and cheese filling, this dinner will be one to remember.
We are expecting the wind to lighten and come from a more northerly direction this evening. When this happens we will drop the second genoa, and probably set the main and genoa out to starboard.
Our arrival in San Francisco could still be any time from Friday evening to Saturday morning. We are hoping for a daylight arrival, but for that to happen we need to sail faster or slower than seems likely. Tinight and tomorrow will probably be light-air days, so our performance in the next 24 hours will likely be the deciding factor.
Now (4:30PM PDT) our position is latitude 39deg 00min N, longitude 129deg 29min W. We are sailing on a course of 80 degrees magnetic at a speed of 6 knots. Winds are 15 knots from the northwest.

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