wind & lecture :)

Wed 8 Dec 2010 10:25
15:14N 51:48w

We are now fully in area 'Quebec', which in roughly 180 Miles at 55W will start to be called Romeo, weather zones as defined by the ARC organization. Our zone has a forecast of 12 to 23 knots, and in reality the wind is a bit higher, without real gusts, the wind vaies all the time between 20 and 27 knots. The forecast for today is higher, 23 to 27 knots, and we expect a rough ride. Tomorrow morning before lunch, we expect to have reached our final zone, Romeo, where the forecast is a hanful knots lower again. This probbaly means we can hoist the PARASAILOR, and see if we can get the 'sock' down, thus releasing the whole sail. In the storm yesterday, we could see the sail was wrapped and it took a lot of manual force to pull the sock from the top down. With the amount of wind and the size of the PARASAILOR (170m2 sail), there is no way we can get the sail back in order outside, nor inside the cockpit, so we are waiting for lesser wind. Then with a bit of luck, ikt will just unfold and unwrap, after which we will try and keep it up till St Lucia.

Sailing downwind without the PARASAILOR means we are moving to the left and right a lot, and sometimes quite significant, so much that the side of the boat goes underwater (which typically means boat inventory starts to fall out of pockets and lockers open. The Autopilot cannot deal with this amount of 'rolling' so handsteering is the solution. But that also is very tiring, and in combination with the storm night yesterday and the consequent lack of sleep, we are all a bit, bla!

But, the sun just came up, the wave look spectectular and the coffee is good :) E and A arfe on shift again, and of course we are trying to break the Velocity Made Good record of 32 Miles (you can sail in all directions to speed up and the boat will be changing heading a lot, there is current and leeway (the boat drifting sideways opposite the wind direction), but practically, the VMG measures how much closer you come to the target). So, on the displays inside and outside, VMG is what is monitored and logged in the SHIPSLOG. The VMG, in combination with the Distance To Finish allows us to calculate what date and even time indication we thinnk we will make landfall. If we only had a better Polar diagram of the boat (a matrix showing the boaty speed, as a result of wind speed and wind direction), the Maxsea software on board could do a better job calculating a more realistic ETA. We use the Maxsea report to verify our own interpretation of the ARC weather forecast and the grib files, so we are not just blindly following the software advise, but it would be nice if we could :)

The Mahi Mahi E caught yesterday was consumed with joy, thanks to E's secret sauce recipe, something of which I am only allowed to share outside this boat the basic ingredient is honey... The food & drinks are still in ample supply, and it looks like we can donate the excess to the victims of the hurricane in St Lucia, although this is not yet concluded, we may just drink the alcohol and eat all peanuts

Thanks for the responses we received on the weather, how to prepare the 'Geep' and possible use of the PARASAIILOR, keep it coming! The feedback and messages have become part of the daily 'captains briefing', in which also the weather, routing, race position, strategy and progress is discussed, so, important.

Lastly, we just learnt that team B, who are now traveling to the Caribbean have made a succesful trip to the UK, where they have stranded overnnight. Presumably they continue their trip today, and we are making avery effort to personally pick them up from the airport in St Lucia :)