Day 13 Strong winds

Fri 5 Dec 2008 17:00
We duly left the big red spinnaker up last night, we had had steady 12 to 18 knot winds all day, and as only 8 were forecast figured that it was more likely that they would drop than rise. Well true to recent form we lasted until 4.45 am when with rising seas and a gust of 25 knots the sail came down. Again with no dramatics but still focussing the mind, as now we have done a total of two drops in the dark.
The winds then rose further and have stayed around 25 knots all day and the seas risen, but with one reef in the main and a poled out genoa we are quite comfortable running with the wind. Once again our wind has been approximately twice the forecast, and this is the fourth time we have had winds over 25 knots since the start.
For those looking at the map and wondering where we are going our strategy has been very simple. Because of adverse weather north of 15N and west of 35 W we decided to aim south, running on our fastest point of sail. Once we reached 15 N we turned for St Lucia and found that the current was still carrying us south, but rather than fight this we continued to sail on a westerly heading letting the current take us south into the area of better winds. We have been expecting the current to swing behind us and then eventually slightly northerly, so have not worried about this southerly drift.
Since about lunchtime today the first signs of it swinging behind us are there. If this is right we should start seeing a big improvement in our daily numbers. Similarly a wind shift is expected that will lift us back on course to St Lucia. In a few days we expect the South Easterly winds we have had for over a week to move to North Westerly allowing us to gybe for the final run into St Lucia. A simple plan, I hope it works!
Meanwhile we bounce around in a confused 9ft sea, but making good progress. I did try to capture the sea today, but this is notoriously difficult in 2D.
On another topic, we heard from Sea Rover today, they also celebrated their half way point yesterday, about 400 miles north of us. Although like us they had been a dry ship so far, they celebrated with foie gras, quails eggs, and sauternes! We had talked about a celebration last night and the conclusion was that after so long, and with the end beginning to be in sight, it was easier to wait for arrival. So for us Putanesca and spaghetti, followed by coffee. Wahoo tonight though and I am to cook.