Day 7 & 8

Digiboat's "Product Testing"
Simon Blundell
Sun 24 Nov 2013 04:22
38:38.76S 045:25.00E

0337z 24/11

Actually just after dawn on Day 9 now, but from the top ...

The winds gradually eased and the sun shone so it was time to do some deckwork. Firstly the jib was poled out (took about 2 hours)  to windward as the wind backed to the W, then eased and backed further so we gybed (another hour or two), then gradually dropped to the point where the mainsail was too heavy and flopped about. Furled the main and with the jib still poled out, hoisted the monkey (mizzen kite). This lasted about 3 minutes before shredding itself just as Kay was saying how "Seventies" it looked. It's beyond repair so will be donated to a local fishing village in Bali for their little dugout fishing boats and expect to see small patches of it on this fleet for generations to come. Next we set the spinnaker goose-winged with the poled out genoa. This worked quite well for a while until the wind dropped further and we furled the jib and squeezed out the last of the wind under kite alone. The trusty metal sail sparked to life and we were back on course and on speed until the wind kicked in again around midnight and we cut the engine and settled into the best passage making sailing of the trip. Averaging 10+ kn for the next 24 and some hours we pulled off a 249 miles in 24hr record which'll be hard to beat. Some of the "split" times were more impressive with 150 miles in 10 hrs and a 92 miles in 8 hrs - so for many log entries we where looking at a possible 270nm in a day.

Yesterday was about as good as ocean sailing can get with the wind on the quarter at 30kn, full main and genoa flying pulling us at speeds up to 15kn at an average of 12kn, seas quite smooth, sun shining, up to 6 albatross criss-crossing our wake, whales breeching 100 m away in the morning, 12 kg albacore tuna at sunset (actually 2, but only managed to land one)...

The NW winds blew steadily fo rthe record breaking 24+ hours, then built last night and with heavy rain turned from NW to 30kn SW in the space of 100 m, so tracking N until enough crew were on deck we gybed and got back onto our layline almost due E with winds now on the beam from the SSW at 25-30kn. So with a tuck in the staysail and 3 reefs on the main we're back up to speed doing 9s and 10s with the southern most vertex of our great circle route about 80 miles ahead - sounds like another shot of rum coming up as we get to start our journey N into the lower and far warmer latitudes ...