A hard day's sailing

Mon 4 Dec 2017 23:26
Position Monday 4th December 12.00 noon (ships time) 14:20.1N 48:16.6W
Now we're shifting.  Maybe it's the thought of land (two of us sneezed for the first time in the trip today..) or more likely Spinnaker's bar, but we got a spurt on today helped by really favourable winds of 15-20kn which totally suit SY Moose.  We were surfing at times on 2m+ waves.  Very impressive.   A proper Atlantic swell.
With the Gennaker and Genoa sails in a 'donkey ears' formation and the wind directly on our stern, we are flying towards St Lucia. The Genoa is 97m2 and the Gennaker is 230m2.  That’s 327m2 of sail flying in a force 4-5 wind. 
The winner is already home – Gastronomique, a racing cat.  We’re about 650nm away from Rodney Bay now and hope to be in on Friday eve.  We are 6th in the MHs and 35th overall.  We’re in the leading 30% of SYs converging on St Lucia and we're bound to get into more one on ones with individual boats.  Thanks to John Ellis for his guidance pinpointing the 4 boats we’re targeting right now.  We had a pretender challenging our position for a while last night - Gregal V - a monohull.  We started the morning 3nm ahead of him and ended it with him off the radar 12nm or more behind.  There is a SY in front, Althaine, who is on our sights but sailing well. 
We thought you'd like to see some of the instrumentation the crew use to sail. 
The instrument on the right shows the wind strength and angle (true and apparent) directly behind us (running).  True wind is blowing at 17.6 knots.  The one on the left shows the heading – which is just north of west, which with wind and wave movement (COG – or course over Ground) takes us pretty much into St Lucia. 
The next picture is the chart plotter which shows lots of useful detail.  Our SOG (speed over ground) at 9.0 is about 50% of the wind speed when running, which is pretty good.  We’ve had it up to 60-70% – remember from a few days ago the mention of the solo hydrofoil yacht which flew past travelling at more than the wind speed – amazing. We’re the black boat on the chart and the triangle with the cross through it is Althaine – a target.
Other news from today:
We had a bizarre episode last night on our watch.  At 3.30am a French SY Ma Mousse was 5nm in front of us directly on our line, travelling more slowly than us so we needed to overtake.  We set a course to do so only to see him move in our way.  His lights were not working properly and we could hardly see him apart from on the AIS and radar.  Calling him up on the VHF wasn’t much good because we agreed a course to follow but he kept moving in our way.  We got quite close.  Then strangely he asked us if he could buy some fuel from us.   This is 1k nm from shore.  Nutter.  French of course.  Wonder where he is now?
A couple of hours of boat chores under slave driver Captain Guy Blythe.  Lloydy managed to avoid most of it by pulling a muscle – so he says.  He looked fine tonight at dinner!
We also had a master line splicing class from Rik-o-Ropemaker.  The pictures show much concentration but it is very fulfilling to actually splice a rope together (so I’m told).  Funnily enough, Lloydy looks fine in this one too!
The picture above was photo-bombed by Albert Steptoe (for those of you old enough). 
Splicing two ropes together is a bit like braiding hair – i was always good at that Al, wasn’t I...??
We had the usual exercise class.  Although we missed Tony from this one, Caroline was very impressive managing to close her eyes during the yoga standing positions on a rocking and rolling boat being moved around by 2m waves.  Impressive balance!
No fish today after yesterday’s spectacular double catch.  Mahi-Mahi travel in mating pairs, lovers for life.  We caught the bull and his mate yesterday at the same time, but as you know through them back.  Captain Blythe said as it’s a full moon, or thereabouts, the chances of catching fish are less.  Interesting fact.  Anyway, we made up for it with a wonderful fish pie tonight, thanks Rose.
Hope you’re all well at home. we’ll see you very soon.  Safe journey out Louise!  And happy birthday for yesterday to Kath.  And hope the flowers arrived, Jules! 
Love to all from the crew of Moose x