Day 10 Position 16:03.51N 38:02.4W Mid atlantic ridge....and a tricky day!

Gwenhyfar's Travels
Wed 4 Dec 2019 16:56
We are now in a position in the very middle of the Atlantic - roughly 1200 miles west of Africa and 1100 miles north east of South America. We are currently crossing the mid Atlantic ridge. This is an underwater mountain range that rises 2000 metres from the average 6000 to 8000 metre deep ocean floor and stretches over 9000 miles from Iceland all the way south to Antarctica. The Ridge is where new earth crust is being created on the ocean floor. Rising volcanic magma is pushing the continental plates of Africa and Europe apart from the North American and South American plate at a rate on average of 3 millimeters per year. The plates are drifting apart as a result of convection currents inside the earths core.

The wind is now stronger and so we reefed the main to reef 1 just before a lunch of cheese and tomato in pitta bread, prepared by Jan.

Tuesday afternoon was spent dealing with a series of small issues. We had a tiny leak on the rudder gaiter and so contact glued a 2 centimeter patch to the nip the incursion and this seems to have stopped the leak. As reported yesterday the heavy kite was repaired and re-launched and was happily flying with a reefed mainsail.

This wasn't to last. Shortly after tea, a particularly large semi detached house size wave lifted Gwenhyfar's stern and pushed her downhill a little off skew at the same time the jaw at the end of the spinnaker pole opened a fraction and released the heavy spinnaker guy to fly free and the lime green kite skied. The pole was now a javelin looking for a target! The inevitable happened and it skewered the clew of the lime green spinnaker and ripped a dustbin lid sized hole in it. We quickly took down the damaged sail - launched the headsail on a goose winged pole and settled our little ship.

Happy hour was cancelled as Jan and Simon got out the sail repair kit and glued, taped and stitched into the late afternoon and early evening. Supper of prawn pasta was volunteered by Tim who took Jan's duties. Jan is a dab hand at sail repairs and is Gwenhyfar's nominated sail repairer - as well as our navigator. Through the evening the plucky pair worked under the mizzen boom light. Occasional squeals as either a thumb was stabbed with a sail makers needle or a squadron of flying fish peppered the port stern quarter. They finished by 21.00 hrs.

Scrambled eggs for breakfast and then at morning coffee we reviewed our situation. The Funny sail was promoted to foredeck duties. It was turned upside down and rigged to fly free on the port side of the starboard poled out headsail, whilst the main continued to by deployed with 1 reef on port side. This became about a knot faster and steadied us. We are now flying again at an average 10 knots in 24-28 knot winds and surfing down the waves. We are not sure how many other sailors will have sailed an upside down mizzen staysail from he foredeck!

Guernsey ground crew (our good friend Colin) later reported to us by email-
"You are still doing very well though, and haven't lost anything - now up to 66th in fleet at 12.00 UTC 4/12 with one of the highest 24hr mileages (203 miles).
Wind should soften a little today to 17 - 24 knts. No significant change expected overnight or for next few days.
I like your position overall, so sail as high as you can for speed and don't worry about working your way lower at the moment."

Days Run 203 miles