Monday, Jan.12, 2015
Daily Run: 122 miles
The sail trim we had so studiously set up in the Easterly trade winds the day after our departure took us too far south when the winds backed to the Northeast. The sail set became untenable in the rising winds and if left unchanged for the night, we would have been set uncomfortably close to the coast of Venezuela. At 3.30pm we decided to reverse the poling out of our foresails. The genoa that had been poled out to starboard was poled out to port and the staysail on the opposite side. Our mainsail remained securely in its stack pack. At 5.40pm the new sail configuration lifted our speed to over 7 knots and enabled us to sail a course well north of west. A truly exhausting exercise, but completed 20 minutes earlier than the 2 hours it had taken us on the day of our departure.
Last night visited us with frequent squalls and wind speeds of around 28kn. There was little time for sleep. Julia and I have a lot of catching up to do, but with winds forecast to be approaching gale force in the next few days, we shall be properly initiated into short-handed boat handling. We are not the only short-handed ones. Of the 14 boats in the fleet, there are 8 crewed by just two people. The largest crew is carried by a 62ft catamaran, seven people including a baby. The largest boat crewed by just two people is a 54ft french boat; they came across the North Atlantic in the ARC 2014. Nationalities vary greatly. Only 6 crews are from the UK, one from America, one from Germany, Portugal, Spain, Iceland, Sweden, Australia and France.