Day 6 Position 18:20.20N 24:55.51W Performance sailing....
Sat 30 Nov 2019 15:55
At 14.00 hrs we again gybed and headed south at 7 knots SOG in 11 knots of true breeze. Colin at Guernsey base is continuing to give us good weather analysis of the big picture over several million square miles of ocean. Our strategy continues be discussed and reviewed but remains to work to the south and west of Cape Verde and to get into the established trade winds, leaving the weak high ridge with its soft winds to the north of us. (Most of our competitors are still to the north of us.)
The routing software is suggesting that we should gybe in the night a couple of times. We think this is a bit risky and much prefer to keep it simple and gybe in daylight - our last at dusk before dinner and our first at dawn. This way it is not only safer, but the full crew can be available to manage the operation which currently takes us a full 15 minutes to execute (not like racing at Cowes with 13 crew and less than a few minutes!) Ocean Sailing Gwenhyfar - with guardrails, makes the gybing process much slower. The guardrails are a safety requirement for this race (normally we go classic racing where good looks are mandatory!) However they mean that we have to rig a cats cradle of cross tweakers and guy tweakers to keep sheets and guys off guardrails stanchions and brightwork to minimise chafe.
As the wind clocks to the north and east we have gybed south. We are now course over ground (COG) heading 225' ( 2 days ago we were making 175' on our southerly gybes.) We are now sailing deeper angles in more pressure.
We prefer to sail the deeper angles under red (light) kite and mainsail. This is best done in true wind speeds over 12 knots at which point Gwenhyfar will be a steady 8-9 knots. In the lighter winds we have preferred to gybe to a more southerly course and deploy the funny sail (mizzen staysail) and mizzen. The true wind angle of 150' becomes an apparent wind angle of 95' as we accelerate to 7-8 knots in less than 11 knots of true wind.
Dinner was fillet steak or tuna steak and new potatoes with a ragout sauce. Well received by everyone. Finished off with fresh fruit salad and tinned cream.
At dawn we gybed and headed west at 266'COG. We are currently 75 miles north of Mindelo Cape Verde.
Spirits high as we make our way south west towards stronger winds ....... Thank you to all who are watching us .. and especially to our ground crew!
Days run 172 miles