First Strike

Wed 25 Nov 2015 18:15
Position: 23:04.936N 023:24.036W

Well, it's been an eventful few days. Apart from crossing the line at the start of the rally, which went very well, pretty much everything else has 'not quite' gone to plan.

Our idea of a conservative start is clearly different from most cruising types. We shot across the line at full speed just as the gun went, but were completely on our own. We were worried for a moment that we had got the time wrong, but then the old Whitbread maxi Fisher & Pykel surged over the line behind us and we knew we were on our way.

We knew things were going to be windy, forecasts had warned that winds "might touch" 30kts, but it was a lot tougher than we were expecting as we regularly saw 38kts steady. Although it was clear that the northerly route was favoured, after our first pounding on the east side of Gran Canaria, the prospect of crossing the acceleration zone between Gran Canaria and Tenerife didn't appeal, so we headed south in the lee of the island, in search of some sunshine.

JK handled the gale and the seas well, but it was a tiring first two days. No chance to ease into life at sea, it was straight into the teeth of the gale. At first we seemed to be doing well, despite the conditions, but as dawn broke this morning it was all too clear that we had damaged both the jib and the spinnaker pole track. James and Huw applied increasing amounts of hammer based persuasion and jury rigged repairs. We are sailing again, but looking forward, at some point, to a break in the F7 winds so we can get the kite up and make some better VMG towards the Caribbean.

Thankfully today, our strategy of heading south paid back. The day dawned clear and bright, still blowing F7 of course, but blissfully warm and sunny for the first time. Flying fish have replaced dolphins as the thing to point at and, this evening, we had our first strike on the new fishing reel. The crew had remarked a lot at the complete absence of interest shown by any fish in Huw's new reel and exotics lures, but all hands were summoned on deck this evening by the unmistakable sound of line flying off the reel. Sadly it was "one that got away", but showed that there are fish out there and that they are keen on the lures after all.

Not that we haven't been eating well; under James's careful watch, the galley has fed everyone fantastically, and meal times have been the highlight of the day. in fact, dinner is being prepared in the galley as we crash along at 11kts. Despite the fact that it smells delicious, we all now hunger for our first taste of fresh caught fish. Tomorrow is another day...

JK and crew.