Position at noon GMT on 27 November 2006 was 25.37.50N, 16.29.15W. 178.2 nautical miles sailed in last 24 hours. 2588 nautical miles to go to St Lucia.
What a site to see; 233 yachts making ready for sea, with a brass band and thousands of spectators lining the harbour walls.
Where’s the kitchen sink?
At 12.40 we got away to a respectable start, with the other 24 yachts in 4 different racing classes, 20 minutes before the main cruising boats started. Winds were light from the North East so we elected to hoist our lightest 6 ounce spinnaker immediately the gun was fired. However the winds soon picked up, and after 3 hours we were becoming concerned that the kite could not handle the winds, which had by then increased to 20 knots. Since we had reached the south east corner of Gran Canaria, and needed to gybe in order to make the right hand turn around the corner on course to the Caribbean, we decide to use that opportunity to replace the kite with our new 9 ounce All Purpose one at the same time. So we rather smartly dropped the light one, gybed and hoisted the heavier one in a reasonably good crew performance
The Course : GCS (Gran Canaria to Starboard), STLP (St Lucia to Port)
Finish line at D.
The sea was extremely confused, making it very difficult to prepare meals. So lunch was a sandwich, and we never got around to dinner on our first day out.
By 5.00 pm the wind had risen to 25 knots, and we were just contemplating another gybe, since we had too much northing in our track, when the sheet clip on the spinnaker clue failed. We recovered the kite fairly smartly into the bow hatch, but not fast enough to avoid a 20 ft vertical split appearing from the flogging of the sail. To cap it all, our subsequent gybe with white sails was nothing to write home about either. Our new AP spinnaker was to be the work horse of this race, and to lose it on the first day was quite a blow.
We decided to look at it in the morning, and see whether it can be patched up with the miles of repair tape we are carrying. We do have another 2 kites so things could be worse.
At 8.00 pm we decided to stay with white sails through the night since the sea was still running and the wind holding at 25 knots. We installed a gybe preventer and moved into the 4 hour watch system