ARC Log - Day 5

Global Yacht Racing's P42
Global Yacht Racing
Fri 28 Nov 2008 21:14
16:57.5N 027:56.8W
Author: Ric

As frustrating as last night was, underpowered and rolling downwind, it doesn't look like it hurt our position too badly. Reports from other boats suggest that they too were struggling to hold kites in the confused sea, and today's midday position shows us still very close to (arguably leading) the pack of four boats leading our class. The other three all give us time on handicap, so for now we're very content with our position - it just means that everything is to play for and we need to start working harder!

Having an easy night without the spinnaker up also gave Paul time to repair a lot of the damage done so far - mostly just resheaving lines which have been chaffed in the end of the pole, and patching a few small holes in the kites. We got our biggest running kite back up at dawn, which confusingly occured later than expected - I guess that's what days of sailing west does for you.

The weather forecasts this morning were all very reassuring, and confirmed that I'd made the right decision to head south - finally they're talking about trade winds developing south of 18N.

Paul made us lunch today which made a welcome change to Wayfarer meals. Just mountains of pasta in a tomato and chorizo sauce. I think Sandy took the record with 4 servings ('well if it's going to waste'). We changed the ship's clock back an hour, so each watch did an extra half an hour today.

The heat today has been unbearable, and inescapable. Those down below off watch are just trying to stay as still as possible, and those on watch are busy developing some interesting life-jacket shaped tan lines. People seem to spontaneously through buckets of water over themselves. I think they're showering, but it only takes 10 minutes until they're just as sweaty as they were to start with.

About mid-afternoon, despite the forecast (from 3 seperate sources) saying we should have 15-20 knots of wind, we sailed into a hole. Since about 3pm we've not had more than about 8 knots and it's been a struggle to keep the boat moving, constantly playing shy reaching angles with the spinnaker. Every time we manage to develop a bit of boat speed it gets taken away by the swell knocking the wind out of our sails. It's very frustrating, sitting here not knowing whether our rivals are suffering the same agony or have escaped the hole and are putting miles between us.

At least we know about one boat - Desna, a 49ft yacht with the highest handicap in our division is along side us. They've been slowly catching us all day, but they can't seem to get past, which is excellent news for us. To add insult to their injury, we managed to catch a fish and still stay ahead!

Right, we seem to have stopped again. Must get back on deck and get us moving.