We are now at 48 30N 023 35W sailing east at 9 kts on the wind on port tack with a light northerly wind.
The good news is that we have managed to wriggle through the light winds of the 'transition zone' that is expanding behind us. It has taken alot of effort to find the best route through, but we think we should now increase our lead on our main competitors behind.
Our main focus is on beating Varuna and Shatki for the top prize in our Class and we owe them about 11 hours on corrected time and are about 110 miles behind. They are just coming to the light winds so we feel we should hopefully extend and we see average speeds more like 9 kts now to the finish.
I have a couple of updates that I couldn't send last night:
By Stu Pollard - starboard watch bowman:
Wednesday night brought about the windiest most exciting downwind sailing in the race so far. The mighty Jazz thrived in the breeze posting a 370 mile 24 hours and registered under the 1000 mile to go mark.Despite the continual in-house competition between the two watches, the entire Jazz crew revelled in the amazing conditions. This was most evident in the crew’s eternal quest for boat speed, requiring three big sail changes throughout the evening.The most entertaining moment of the evening came during one of these changes when discussion arose over what was the best piece of sailing footage around. The overall consensus being that it was footage of the “Pirates of the Carribean” (Volvo 70) leaving Melbourne under Jib Top and Genoa Staysail in big waves. This was Jazz’s chosen sail combination for our next change. Bowmen Andy Hudson and myself were encouraged into this very wet change by the rest of the crew singing the pirates theme song which is overlayed over the video footage.With the boys singing (if you could call it that) in the back ground Andy and I were excited to begin the change with images of Kiera Knightly waiting for us on the bow as our very own mid Atlantic damsel in distress. Unfortunately all that greeted us was that ever present fire hose. Leaving us to mope back to the cockpit wet and cold, but most upsetting of all, still alone...Despite the cold, with the big swell, the ever present fog, 30 knots and a big spinnaker, everyone on board was reminded that this is why we compete in these ocean races. It is for these long down winds, regularly surfing in excess of 25 knots under the full main and A6.Stu Pollard (Sydney)
By Brendan Garner - starboard watch helm/trimmerDuring the night with the fog and pitch black darkness we had to perform our third back down for the race. A process the team is starting to perfect. This time Jake Newman was driving felt something hit the rudder and slowed speed by 5kts. He knew it was big and had to be taken off quickly before possibly the rudder broke.The off watch was just getting up and the call came down to get ready quick. To help with control the spinnaker staysail is hoisted and left furled. The shute was dropped seconds later using a dropline (we always leave preset when racing offshore) and the boat was helmed head to wind in 28kts of wind.After we washed off the speed by manually backing the mainsail – with six crew braced against it like a rugby scrum, the boat sailed backwards in the 3 metre waves and the call came ‘all clear’ from Jake on the helm. The staysail was deployed to pull the bow away. Meanwhile some of the off watch feverously repacked the shute and sent it straight back up. Re-hoist and Jazz was back up to speed all within eight minutes start to finish in the dark of night. All the team clipped on and looked out for one another throughout the manoeuvre.With the past two days of higher speed sailing spirits are high. I managed a short phone call home to the family in Oz which was my second highlight of the day after helming down the waves at 25 knots. .After speaking to my wife Kaz and eldest son Ben, I was glad to hear all is well even through my youngest son Josh (3) was found yesterday with yellow teeth, after thinking printer ink cartridge might taste nice...!Brendan Garner (Geelong)