but true, Jersey is yet again the furthest boat south. Again we
are being sold the more miles for your money argument (with it coincidentally
tying in with a plan around the weather forecast).
leaving Panama City we have been heading more or less due south.
We were pleasantly surprised by the strength of the wind, which
was nicely on our port beam at the start. However, about an hour
from the start, the fleet sailed into a sizeable wind hole, and
fears of a very long and painful trip down to Galapagos began to
kick in. However, an hour or so later and we had 30 knots on our
helming has been interesting with a strong breeze, but confused
swell. In the groove everything goes well but, every now again,
a large set of waves can knock the stern around too much for comfort.
Given the wind strength, the possibility of broaching (bow points
too close to wind and boat heels over severely) or doing a chinese
gybe (stern goes involuntary through the wind) are quite real.
During the midnight to 4am watch, I was helming when we started
to get far to close to a chinese gybe. Throwing the wheel all the
way over the boat finally reacted and begin to take us into a possible
broach. Flinging the wheel, and myself, to the other side of the
cockpit, I found myself just behind the person grinding the spinnaker
sheet. One of the best ways to reduce power in a broach situation
is to ease the spinnaker
Marcus claims you could hear my shouts of "Ease" from
miles away. I, however, maintain that I almost whispered, in a very
controlled and calm manner, into his ear. That being as loud as
I could manage through gritted teeth.
Conditions like this have made sleeping difficult, with the boat
being thrown about quite a lot. And while we are only just over
24 hours into the start of this race, the high work rate has left
people tired already. However, with tiredness comes the ability
to sleep during any off watch period, and soon enough the rhythm
will kick in. And on the upside, we are sailing fast. Last night
Marcus hit, what must be a fleet record so far, of 18.3 knots. Good
at the last radio schedule, our southerly course will ensure we
do not keep this position, and those boats favouring the direct
rhumb line course will begin to take miles out of us on a DTG (Distance
To Go) basis. For those of us that crossed the Atlantic that will
be nothing new, and as before we are relishing the more individual