The invisible mark

As predicted our approach to the waypoint off the Canaries yesterday became pretty light and tricky with a lot of gybes and flapping needed to get us around. This had the knock-on effect of compressing the fleet so that at one point we could see five or six boats, a bit of a novelty after the previous four days on our own. We also had fun rounding the invisible mark at the waypoint. For some reason this is a lot harder than rounding a mark that is actually there. We came within 10m of it which I hope doesn’t count as a collision.Once round the waypoint we are now into the meat of the race, 2600 miles of open ocean between us and the finish, a point that Sam likes to hammer home by having bearing and distance to waypoint up on the main displays in my eye line the whole time. As well as the obvious hurdle of distance this information raises another question, which way to head? The finish line is pretty much west of here but for the next few days we’ll be heading almost dead south.

This is the usual situation for this time of year with light winds in the middle of the route but stronger westerly trade winds further south. Therefore everyone’s (unless very brave) prefered course over the next few days will be away from the direct which has the effect of skewing the rankings a litte. In theory you could easily get the lead on paper at the moment by heading off due west. Things would then turn worse and worse as you sailed into no wind while the guys in the south were blasting along in the trades.

Life onboard is getting steadily more pleasant as we head further south. Day time temperatures are just about perfect, if a little hot and at night we are still needing thermals and a hat for short periods. It’ll be time to break out the mini fan by tomorrow and then start annoying everybody stuck in rain and storms at home by complaining about the heat!

Onwards, to St Baths, but first the bow where our broken spinnaker is crying out for more of my precious sleep time….

Nick

29.04.12

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