Wednesday 12th June - Recovering in Ponta Delgada

Thu 13 Jun 2019 09:37
37: 44.30N 025: 39.94W
Should have posted this on Wednesday!
Here we are safe and sound in Ponta Delgada bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after 10 hours delicious sleep last night. Had a look around and discovered a very good pavement cafe/restaurant on the main drag opposite the marina. The harbour road looks to have been a dual-carriageway, major thorough-fare and town planning feature. Nowadays one side of the dual-carriageway has been given over to cyclists and only the other side used by cars etc.
Those of you who have been following the tracking will know that we eventually finished c. 0530 on Tuesday morning after a very frustrating 24 hours during which we covered a mere 36 miles - an average speed of 1.5kts. Totally surprised and thoroughly delighted to be 2nd in class 2 but disappointed to have unwittingly thrown away a good lead.
Which end of the island to go around is a traditional challenge of AZAB. Some previous competitors had warned me that east-about had not worked for them. However, the weather-routing app that I have been learning had recommended the east end for more than 10 days. So that was the plan. Mid-morning Saturday we were heading that way at 6kts with about 120 miles to the finish (~20 hrs except for the tricky south coast of the island to negotiate). However, the latest grib file was hinting that west-about might now be better. As other class 2 boats had not been seen on AIS for several days, nor heard chatting on VHF, it was easy to conclude that they had parted company with us and were now heading for the west end! So around midday we went that way as well. In reality we had lost contact with them merely because we were further ahead than imagined and out of range. When we reached 3G coverage texts began arriving congratulating us of being top of the leaderboard but warning that boats rounding the east end were making up ground fast. The rest is history. A class 2 boat that we knew was somewhere not too far astern when we veered off to the west carried on to finish 7 hrs ahead of us.