Day 4: islands in the Sun

Purple Mist
Skipper: Kate Cope
Fri 24 Feb 2023 11:12

16:24.860N 61:10.497 W

Day 4: Islands in the Sun

It’s been a bit of a frustrating 24hrs mixed in with some lovely scenery and champagne sailing. After our fast reach down to the top of Guadeloupe we had a big decision to make to try and avoid the wind hole do we go into the shore and pick up the breeze that comes off the land at night or do we try and stay offshore to sail round the hole? There were 3 boats ahead of us to look at but Escapado has not had a working AIS all race so no data from them . We looked at the tracks and seemed more boats went inshore so we picked that route….at first we were going well and as the wind dropped we deployed the code zero and the speed was still good . However in the end it was a bad decision as we got completely stuck doing about 1 kt for 2 hrs and the boats behind like Montana and Hultaj could see our problem and sailed round us. All the hard work we had put in to climb up the ranks was lost .

We then rounded the Saints and were fully upwind into the strongest wind so far and steepest seas . This and the island of Desirade is where the swell built up over 3000NM of Atlantic meets the relatively shallow depths of the Caribbean so we had been warned the waves are big. Coupled with the fact this was the spot where in a previous edition of the race Richard from Jangada was thrown across the cockpit. We therefore were suitably cautious and most definitely clipped on . We had a giant 30kt squall which was like a washing machine and the waves were rough until we could get into the Lee of Guadeloupe.
We’ve spent all day tacking , the wind died at times but just as you think shall we switch up to the J2 headsail it comes back. It was a long way to Desirade but thankfully when we got there the wind and waves were not too bad …or maybe we are just used to it.

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We thought this was the tough leg so we’re not too bothered about a 10hr leg to Barbuda again. However this has turned into the toughest leg yet. Constant 20kt winds combined with a rough sea made for a wet and uncomfortable ride. I woke for my watch at 3am and could have easily just pointed for Antigua and given up. More wet kit, more wet oilies to struggle into and a feisty boat that needs to be hand steered . Anyway after an hour the boat was more settled and the wind down at a more manageable 18kts so I took a breather. I sat and looked behind and the sky was full of stars. It honestly brought a tear to my eye how lovely it was. I patted the boat and in my head told her she was doing a great job . In return she splashed a wave over the deck onto my shoes. Then to complete the moment a shooting star fell from the sky.

All is still well aboard. everything inside is very damp from the constant waves over the deck and the rain squalls. The Freshwater squalls are not too bad as at least you dry out, the saltwater never dries . We alternate between oilies and just getting wet. Claire is down to her last top and leggings so after that she will be raidiing my wardrobe for dry clothes. We are also having to be careful to not get salt water rash with plenty of baby wipes and face wipes being deployed to try and get the salt water off our skin.

Life on an angle is tiring , even going to the loo is a real effort. Making food everything slides the minute you put it down. This morning. Claire made 2 bowls of granola and milk, in the time it took to pass mine to me on deck Claire’s had turned completely upside down liberally spreading milk and cereal everywhere. In these conditions the Expedition dehydrated food has been great , just chuck boiling water on it and wait a few minutes . It tastes great as well.