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Captain's Log – Coasting Eastward

Date: June 22, 2016
Time: 0545 ADT
Position: 25 nautical miles WSW of the Magdelene Islands in middle of Gulf of St. Lawrence

This morning wind is 20-25 knots from SWxW. Pride II is sliding along at around 9 knots under reefed square-topsail, all three jibs (fore-staysail, jib & jib-top) as well foresail and mainsail. It has been a busy 24 hours.

36 hours ago Pride II had earlier departed Lunenburg to enjoy coasting eastward along the “Eastern Shore” of Nova Scotia with a fresh southwesterly breeze. The sail plan then was the romantic “all sail” because it included the gantsl (top gallant sail) and stunsl (studding sail) in addition to the more common “plain sail” (mainsl, maintopsl, foresl, foretopsl, styasl, jib, jibtop). Since that lovely sunny broad reach first afternoon out from Lunenburg the crew have struck and reset sail several times.

Before I forget. At 0600 ADT this morning, I was informed there have been Puffins flying around.

Monday evening took in the stunsl and gantsl because the weather forecast indicated strengthening winds from the south which would create a beam breeze rather than a following breeze. After midnight Monday (early Tuesday), the wind died altogether, so all but the mainsl and maintopsl were taken in and some motoring started. A couple of hours later (well before dawn), the forecast finally came true and foresl, foretopsl, staysl, jib & jib-top were re-set and engines turned off.

Late Tuesday morning, as the ship approached the large turn to the north around Cape Canso, the maintopsl was taken in ahead of the jibe. in consideration of the fresh 20 knot southerly. Did I mention heavy fog? Tuesday morning before dawn, a heavy fog was created by the southerly winds that tardily filled in.

Sailing up through the Straits of Canso Tuesday afternoon was fine and enjoyable in clearing fog and smooth seas of Chudabucto Bay until we got very strong & gusty winds up inside the Straits. Quickly, the crew struck jib-top, jib and foretopsl. Of course to go through the lock, all sail had to be brought in. That lock, Canso Lock, is a result of closing off the rushing waters of the Straits of Canso with a causeway years ago. Prior to that causeway, I have read currents in the Straits could go to 14 knots!

After the lock, the crew reset foresl, staysl, jib in gusty winds that later died off as Pride II moved into more open waters north of the Straits. With less gusty winds the crew set foretopsl, jib-top and mainsl. Only an hour later had to strike all but foresl and staysl due to threatening thunder cloud squalls. Last night, after the thunder clouds moved by, but other more distant rain clouds remained in evidence on the radar, the fresh southerly winds returned and the crew set a reefed foretopsl. Midnight last night, as the ship passed East Point of Prince Edward Island, the sky was clearing up and the moon was blasting through from astern the crew re-set jib and jib-topsl followed by the full mainsl.

So far, since midnight, Pride II has been making between 6 and 9 knots as the wind has been slowly re-organizing into a southwest breeze forecast to eventually become a fresh westerly breeze before eventually reducing to variable 10-15 knots. Between midnight, and now as I write this, the morning has been the longest period of time in the last 36 hours that there has not been a significant sail handling evolution. Whew!

Signed, Jan C. Miles