Sailing the Rhumb Line

Flyer of Lorne
Dave Sturrock
Mon 1 Dec 2008 05:51
17:19.84N 20:29.55W
Sunday 30 November, Days Run 169NM
Yesterdays's episode in our ARC travels left us sailing overnight with our Gennaker hoisted. As we have often seen on this  journey, the wind suddenly increased to around 25knots at 01:00hrs which led to a couple of rapid broaches. Everyone was on deck quickly to drop the Gennaker and unfurl the Genoa. With this combination and a blustery 28knot wind, Flyer was able to scream doiwnwind at 9-10knots stretching the gear and crew to the limit at times as she threatened to round up to the wind. We needed to keep the speed going so left full sail hoisted through the night. The dawn brought frustratingly light winds which shifted from NE to ENE so we headed SW for a time before gybing toi the West after lunch. This allowed us to sail the direct or rhumb line towards St Lucia and the GPS now shows we have under 2,000NM to run. We have seen more yachts today than at anytime since we departed  Las Palmas with 4 sighted during daylight and 2 during the night watches. We called up the closest of these which was crossing around 1NM to the North. This turned out to be "Gone Native" once we established comms on VHF channel 77. They had a crew of 4 adults and three  13 year olds on board and had been experiencing very similar conditions to us over the last few days.
As evening approached or more specifically as we sat down to dinner our evening wind picked up again to around F5  from the NE having been only F3-4 for much of the day. This brought a suggestion from me to have more meals every day because that is always when the wind increases!
In addition to the ARC fleet positions we are receiving useful updates on our overall position from Norrie in Edinburgh and Ally offshore on the Banff. We have moved up a few places today as more boats have been forced South below latitude 20N in search of steady wind.Low pressure in mid Atlantic continues to disrupt the trade winds and would still seem to present a barrier to the fleet as it is lying directly in our path.
We are still receiving lots of great e-mails and we are thinking of posting the best  of these on our blog site which may include some excellent jokes you have sent!
Dave Sturrock