Day 2

Majic 2's great ARC 2006 adventure
Peter Howe
Tue 28 Nov 2006 14:15

Position at noon GMT on 28 November 2006 was 22.48.90N, 17.46.50W. 186.4 nautical miles sailed in last 24 hours. 2515 nautical miles to go to St Lucia.


The crew of Duckwall Pooley.  A Beneteau First 42S7 which is in our class. They have spent 4 years moving it from the Clyde to Las Palmas. They got a good start but we lost contact with them at nightfall.



Donald, where’s your troosers?



As dawn broke on 27th we woke up to huge seas of 3 – 4 metres, with the wind still blowing at 20 – 25 knots from the north-east. The movement of the boat in these seas made it very risky to fly a spinnaker, for fear of wrapping it around the forestay. We decided to stay with our No. 1 headsail instead, and were making a steady 8 knots.


A quick examination of the damaged spinnaker confirmed that we would use all of our tape in making a quick repair, and in all probability it would not be able to handle winds greater than 15 knots. It was re-packed and will go to the sailmaker in St Lucia for repair.


We turned our attention, for the first time since starting, to our overall race strategy. Essentially there are 2 main routes for the race. The northern one, which is almost a straight path to St Lucia from the south of Gran Canaria, and the longer southern route, which hugs the African coast due south until picking up the easterly trade winds, usually around the latitudes of Cape Verde islands. The present weather is complicated by a trough in the middle of the Atlantic, blocking the northerly route with light winds and unknown conditions behind it. The ARC weather briefer had recommended the southerly route for those who do not like surprises, and we had decidied to take his advice.


As we progressed down the African coast on port tack, it became clear that we could not pass to the west of Cape Verde islands without gybing at some point. But with the current wind direction our new tack would have taken us to the West, where the trough lurks. So we continue, bare-headed to save our headsail from flogging, on port tack on a track 230 degrees at 8 knots in 25 knots of wind from north-east. If only these steep seas would abate, we could hoist a kite and get on with it. 


One thing which we underestimated was the amount of battery charging which is necessary for the many electronics the boat carries. We had estimated 2 hours of charging per day. We need to charge for 5 hours. This has an impact on diesel fuel consumption, but we have sufficient in reserve to handle this increased requirement.


Not having had a hot meal for 48 hours, the skipper offered to cook last night; no mean feat with the very unsteady motion of the boat. We all enjoyed an excellent Irish stew at 5.00pm, since it is necessary in these latitudes to eat whilst we still have daylight.


During the night we ran a competition on who could surf a wave fastest. Mik and Ron won with 15.8 knots (liars!).


In the morning we were treated to a circus act of porpoises swimming alongside the bow.