We struggled to get into the breeze and get the boat fully powered up yesterday. It was a case of stacking everything, ballasting the boat and trimming the sails. In the picture you can see Nick stacking the sails next to the ballast tank. Under normal racing or IRC racing you are not allowed to stack but in Class 40 it is essential. We do not have 14 crew sitting on the rail hiking over the side. We have 750 litres of water plus all of our sails, spares, tools, food and clothes that we move from side to side depending on our tack or wind angle. At times we put everything in the stern of the boat to get the bow out of the water or visa versa. It works very well and is much easier than crew politics.
‘Look what we found’ supplied us with yummy meatballs and beans for dinner last night. I added smash to it and Nick and I felt much stronger. By this time it was already 14 degrees on deck and the temperature was dropping fast. It was time to find more Gore-tex mid layers and my boots. Once I was all layered up it was rather pleasant on deck for shortish periods. It was a dark night as the thin slither of new moon set as we were eating dinner.
At times there were wonderful stars lighting up the ocean but most of the time it was dark and overcast making helming very difficult in a choppy sea. So last night I trimmed the sails to the auto pilot allowing me to hide in the companion way when the waves came over the deck. This system seemed to work out well as our speed did not seem too bad this morning.
Although there seems to be a fine line between doing 8 knots and 9.5 knots and it can get a little frustrating getting it right on your own when there is no-one to talk to about it. At twilight I could see a big rain squall on the horizon. It was forecast to increase so I thought, “Here it comes!” and it sure did. Before long it was gusting over 20 knots. I woke Nick up and said if this lasts to much longer we might have to change gear.
We decided it was better to do so. We put a reef in the main and changed from the solent to the staysail (big jib to little jib). The boat was much happier and our speed increased.
We were both feeling much warmer after a little run around the deck and sat down for some breakfast. I went to bed and the wind gradually started to ease off again. At the next change of watch we shook out the reef in the main.
Since the wind has increase the birds have come out to play again. The Albatrosses, Petrels, Shearwaters are all following the boat. It is quite an amazing sight. They glide so gloriously, sweeping up the waves and our wake.
You just wonder when one will crash into a wave by mistake. Over the rest of the weekend we will be sailing towards Tristan du Cunha and Gough Island.
This is were many of these birds breed and rest. So the variety of birds should get more interesting as the weekend progresses.
Well done to Halvard and Miranda aboard Campagne de France on finishing yesterday evening. Fantastic sailing! We know that you are going to enjoy your stay in our home town!