ARC Log - Day 13

Global Yacht Racing's P42
Global Yacht Racing
Sat 6 Dec 2008 22:10
14:17.1N 048:32.7W
Author: Ric

For the last 24 hours, the wind has been averaging about 12 knots from 100 degrees (magnetic). Our shortest route to St Lucia is to steer 290 degrees. This makes life tortuously slow, as we are sailing dead downwind, on a relatively heavy boat, with only just enough pressure to keep the boat speed above 6 knots. If the wind would shift by even a small amount, we'd have a definite making tack and at least feel we were going the right way. As it stands, we have no good reason to favour either tack, and I while away the hours playing devil's advocate with myself about why the other tack might be better. We've covered 165 miles in the 24 hours from lunchtime yesterday, while our main, significantly lighter rivals have managed about 180.

Since writing the above paragraph we've been run over by a big cloud that over the last couple of hours has caused the wind to be anything from 5 to 25 knots from pretty much everywhere! Before we took the kite down we were heading rapidly east! It's now settled(!?) from the NNE at about 15 knots - just a bit too far forward to put a kite back up, but we're making good progress towards St. Lucia again.

The cloud also brought some intense rain, and while most of us sat looking a bit miffed, our German contingent broke out the shower gel. Sebastian got naked once again, soaped up and writhed around on the back of the boat desperately trying to collect fresh rain water as it ran off the back of the mainsail. At least Sebi kept his clothes on.

Kite has just gone back up and the wind has eased to about 10 knots again - not really enough for us to be competitive which is extremely frustrating having done so well until now. The sky is very dramatic, with a lot of thick layers of black cloud, illuminated from underneath by the setting sun. Hopefully we've seen the worst of it for today, but we'll be ready to deal with any squalls tonight.

Despite having over 700 miles left to sail, it does feel like we're nearly there - especially as the weather is only forecast to improve for us over the next few days, bringing the steady north easterlies back and hopefully giving us a fast run in to the finish. Thoughts and conversations are turning, predictably, to the things we're most looking forward to. Most people agree that a cold beer would be nice. Jo is craving a cheese sandwich.