Tonight we cranked the wood stove..

Sunset was gorgeous tonight. A combination of colors and clouds, absolute beauty.

Sunset at sea

Northern latitude sailing is always beautiful. But cold. Really cold. Tonight, we cranked the wood stove. Boats wood stoves are now almost unknown in the US. No one wants a sunday marina sailor to “smoke” his neighbors in an upscale marina. And wood ashes are not welcome on shining white decks. Those few braves still sailing during the winter months have now diesel heaters working with the engine fuel. But I am from the old sailing school. The wood stove is an essential tool in my journey. My stove dispenses a pleasant dry heat. Its warm glows and makes the crew feel safe and happy. It was intimate and cosy inside my sailboat this evening.
  But from now on, we gonna do the watch inside.

Wake up…

Vari , my crew member, woke me up the next morning. She reported putting the boat back on track as we were drifting to far East. After checking, I found the boat on tracks.  But we are going slowly now, about 3 knots. The sky is low, overcast and grey but it is not as cold. We set up the sails “wing on wing”.  The Aries, my wind vane is working fine.   “La vie est belle”
Midday. “PÉTOLE” again. Dead calm in the middle of nowhere.  “Iron sailing” in flat seas with rain and grey sky. It’s still warm inside the boat and very comfortable even without the stove. One hour and a half of engine is enough to top up our batteries. Just after, the wind picked up again. wonderful…. but for a few hours only.
 Now the Aries is responding no more.  That’s sailing with its up and down. I know the game.  Nothing to worry about.

Wind vane

The wind went down and the original wing on the Aries  is too heavy. I replace it by the light one. Some others modifications removing  more weights and it seems to work again. I went to sleep while the crew is playing monopoly enjoying a dry interior and the slow and easy motions of my boat.
With the wind shifting East, I had to adjust again the wind vane. We do about 4/5 knots. 
Midnight and now the wind shifts North. We have to tack and I do it with Vari. Quickly, we set up the course at 45 degree and are going NE and up wind.

Up wind

Pretty smoothly as the sea is flat. Hope it stays like that.
Too much north winds when heading north is not ideal, but we still can keep going up toward our destination.

Last day of July. North wind again. It’s 2:00 am. Everything looks fine outside, except that inside we are “smoked” like herrings. Damn stove! We are up wind and the sail’s orientation  doesn’t pull the smoke out of the cabin very efficiently . I finally opened the front small hatch in the pilot house. It’s getting better. But opening the companion way made it worse. A delicate balance if we want to go outside. A fine tuning exercise.  Like sailing !