Indian Ocean - Day 10

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Thu 11 Oct 2012 18:15
18:55.8S 062:02.8E  2090 miles covered, 270 miles to go
Andrea was right.  The new symbol on the spinnaker was a bad luck sign.  At 2am there was a gust of wind, only about 25 knots, but the spinnaker collapsed and re-filled with a bang, exploding into ribbons.  When we got it down we found that some of the halyard block assembly came down with it, torn off by the power of the explosion.  We are now reduced to using only white sails until we can get the spinnaker halyard fixed. 
Fortunately the wind has remained around 20 knots so we are making good progress with the regular sails, despite our course being downwind.  The only annoyance is that we are now having to zig zag because we can only sail efficiently if we go either dead downwind or 35 degrees off the wind. 
We were about a 90 miles ahead of Gunvor this morning, with about 80 hours left to run.  They have a spinnaker up but I think they will need lighter winds than these to overhaul us.  The winds are decreasing as we approach Mauritius, so it might be close, but the good news is that we now have a 1.5 knot current which keeps us going pretty fast regardless of the wind.
6.6 knots or more will get us to Mauritius in time to dine out on Andrea's birthday.
First spinnaker failure - a steel cable snapped inside the snuffer
Second spinnaker failure - a gust jerked the halyard, ripping this Harken block off the mast head