Its Sunday afternoon and we are flying downwind to the west of the Cape Verde Islands. Sun is out, kite is up and there is white water rushing out from under the boat and we surf from one wave to the next. We are having fun, pushing the boat and making some good miles to Itajai.
Since Thursday life on board has changed a lot. We have escaped the high pressure where we had very little wind. We were getting very frustrated not knowing what sail to have up when and which forecast to believe in. We had been stuck in the high for way to long. On Friday afternoon a steady breeze started to fill in. We had the gennaker up and then the A2 (the big pink kite) and then we would swap them over we did this a few time before we really started to move. Each time we got more and more hot and bothered. Happy to escape the high as night set in. Friday night was the first night at sea since the start where we did not make a sail change. Pip and I took it in turns helming and making Concise 2 go fast. We started to eat up the miles.
Now we are sailing downwind with white water spraying everywhere. Life on board has changed a lot since Thursday! We are A) moving a long at over 10 knots constantly B) we have wet bums again with all of the water coming over the deck(it is too hot to wear water proof trousers) and C) we both have smiles on our faces. We are starting to close in on our competitors. Pip and I are taking it in turns to helm to make the most of our speed and to save diesel. We have been at sea for 2 weeks today and we think that we are going to be a bit short on diesel for charging so we are hand steering to save on fuel and push the boat harder. This however comes with side effects – You have a wet bum all the time. I have a pair of dry shorts down below and a pair of shorts for on deck that are always wet. It is well worth it. When you are on the helm and suddenly the bow is higher than the horizon and you are surfing at 17 knots down a wave. The challenge is to not get the water to come down the deck towards you. Which is almost impossible. The nights are hard. It is dark as the moon is very small now and you can not really see the waves. It is a bit like driving blind folded. You have to feel the waves and feel the boat watching the kite to maximize the speed.
The dolphins still come to play with us in the early hours of the morning. This morning they looked like torpedoes in the sea. Flosphosesance lighting us up as they surfed the waves and jumped next to the boat. It is a spectacular sight.
We are now trying to set ourselves up for the doldrums and to cross the equator. This is a very important part of the race. Today we are lining Concise 2 up to come in at the right angle. We have a game plan and we will watch the leaders and the weather over the next few days very carefully before we finalize our strategy.