Day 13

Majic 2's great ARC 2006 adventure
Peter Howe
Sat 9 Dec 2006 12:08

Position at noon GMT on 9 December 2006 was 13.27.57N, 49.24.20W. 201.4 nautical miles sailed in last 24 hours on the boat log. 673 nautical miles to go to St Lucia.


As most readers are now aware, our inability to sail straight downwind has been the key factor for our poor position this year. We have had so many offers of poles with which to boom out our genoa that we could open a broom store. We do not have the privilege of seeing our track on google earth onboard, but of course we do have the old fashioned charts which we carry and maintain as a backup. Rolf  Harris's song 'My Boomerang Wont Come Back' springs to mind. From the start we tried to establish a 120-150 degree angle on the apparent wind, the point of sailing which gives us most speed, which would take us in the general direction of the finish line. We prayed and hoped that at some time in the next 2 weeks the dreaded easterlies would change, and we could set a course with the same apparent wind angle straight to the finish. It didn't happen, and so a few days ago we bit the bullet and joined the downwind sailing club.


Majic will only sail directly downwind with a boomed-out genoa. A pole we did not have. Or by furling the genoa and setting the mainsail almost at a right angle to the line of the boat. In this position the mainsail no longer acts as an aerofoil section but as a wind catcher. Not the most efficient, nor the fastest, but it did enable us to point the boat at St Lucia along with the wind. All things being equal, in terms of wind and sea conditions, we should finish in Rodney Bay by Wednesday, the eve of our skipper's birthday.


However, the latest weather forecasts predict a region of lighter easterly winds, spreading from the east towards the west, that should arrive in the St Lucia area by Monday/Tuesday. We would like to finish before the winds drop, and so every effort is being made to sail as fast as possible towards the north coast of St Lucia.


Sighted a sail fine on our starboard side this morning, about 3 -4 miles ahead. Since we have been the most southerly placed yacht in the fleet for the past few days, it's nice to have some company at last.