Finally we seem to have the strong NE trade winds that were supposed to be a
feature from the start of this race. There's still the odd ominous-looking
bank of cloud around, but none are causing us as much trouble as they have
done for the last few days.
Our main trouble today has been handling the increasing breeze. We're
further south than we would normally have been, which means we now have a
hotter wind angle for the last 350 miles into St Lucia. We're flying our AP
spinnaker with a low pole, trying to make it look as assymetric as possible.
It's not really working though, and without an army of experienced helmsmen
and pro kite trimmers we were struggling to avoid broaching every few
minutes. At around 2pm I decided that the toll on the boat and sails, as
well as the sustainability of the crew effort meant it was time to drop it
and reach with our No. 3 headsail instead. This reduced our speed by about
a knot on average.
The decision was a controversial one. For the last few days we've been
calculating our chances of beating Fair Do's VII to take first place, and
the conclusion has been that it's going to be very close, whichever way it
goes. Their a-sails are perfect for these reachy angles, and we're losing
ground on them every day, but there was still a reasonably high chance that
if we pushed the boat hard we could just about do it. That chance vanished
when we dropped the kite, and we'll most likely have to settle for second
place at best.
With a calmer boat we managed to eat a decent lunch (thanks again, Paul).
The wind has dropped a little and veered now (5pm) so we've put the kite
back up and so far we're coping with it well.
Sebastian (who I now refer to as 'cosine' on account of his inability to
stop doing maths) made some fresh coffee to celebrate. I can't tell you how
pleased I am about this, as the fact we'd been carrying the weight of a
cafetiere that I'd seen no benefit from was beginning to wind me up! Still,
spending your off-watch on a caffine high is probably not condusive to
We've reached the end of the food bags we'd prepared for each day of the
trip ('surely it won't take more than 15 days'). This isn't a great drama,
there's still plenty of Wayfarer meals on board, but it does mean we're out
of chocolate and cereal bars. We do appear to have a surplus of cake
though, as well as peanut butter wraps, curiously.
We're back in the chase for now at least - we're not going to push too hard
as our chances of taking first place are looking slim. We do all want to
get there as fast as possible though - we're looking forward to the rum
punch we're expecting to be presented with on arrival, which should be
Wednesday morning at this rate.