Day7 - 24hr run - 205nm

Sun 3 Dec 2006 16:26
Day 7 celebrations
We opened our first bottle of champagne at lunch today.  Celebration 7 days at sea, passing the 1000nm mark and clocking a daily run of 205nm.  The trades are simply doing their trade wind thing and blowing, pretty much incessantly at 20 knots from behind and giving us a satisfying ride across.  We are hoping this will stay as it it for at least the next 3 days, if not for longer, and we are eating up the miles.  We also passed the first major waypoint at 20N 30W which has been in our sights for a couple of days now.
There is some cloud cover some of the time but mostly it is hot and sunny.  The waves are building up but lengthening so we are not being shoved around quite so much.  It is still hard to cook at the moment but we are managing OK.  Colin cooked up Danny Dorado for an appetiser before lunch which was delicious.  We have not been able to fish for 48 hours because we could not land anything in these seas and I doubt very much that we could slow the boat down sufficiently to reel it in.
Bit of a drama with the genoa this morning as we were doing our morning rig checks.  We furled it to move some of the lines that had been chafing overnight but it became twisted and would not unfurl again afterwards.  We took it down and re-wound it on the luffline down below - it is quite a lot longer than the boat and so we had blue and white sail covering everything in 4 cabins and the cockpit from the bow to the transom....messy!  We did however, get it back up again with a lot of huffing and puffing from various crew members and both headsails are now pulling us along at our (now) customary 8 knots+.  Everyone is asleep (at 1630 in the afternoon) but we are all looking forward to watching Saving Private Ryan at 1900 at our Sunday cinema.
I am still a bit hacked off with myself for not thinking through these bizarre racing instructions a little more carefully.  Essentially, what has happened is that we were routed south on the basis of a wind advantage that has not turned out to be much of a differential anyway. Most of the rest of the cruising fleet simply took a straight line for St Lucia on the basis that they could motor if the wind dropped - which is exactly what the majority of them did.  We ended up going c.250nm out of our way (and have not used our engine at all) but I doubt very much if the penalty system for using the engine gives us anything like the full compensation for the detour.  So, unfortunately, we are playing catch up having given most of the fleet a 200 mile head start!  Not very smart I know, but I am not used to races where the engine can be used to over-ride the wind strategy! And I trusted my weather time I will know better!  Anyway, having done 8-9 knots for nearly 36 hours we are hoping to see a bit of progression on the positions today.  If not, it is back to the drawing board.
That's all for now.