It's been a tough twelve hours for the 21 crew aboard Rambler100.
The wind has been really, really unstable with lots of big squall like showers (but no wind and not too heavy rain) passing all night long dragging what little breeze we had all around. The crew did a great job keeping the boat at speed, with frequent sail changes.. water ballasting and mode changing ... but that speed wasn't so fast (check out the picture of the boat speed (top instrument display on the mast) at 2.4 knots. It got so calm that Jerry Kirby went up to the top of the mast to look for wind - and came back down reporting "there's not much out there" - and this is the same race where we were threatening to break the 24 hour record! Sailing - such a sport.
The problem was caused by an upper low dragging the rain and thick clouds and light winds over the top of us.. rotating around the low over the UK. This feature was not handled well by any of the weather models we have been using - and required study of satellite photos to get a grip on what was happening. .. hence our arrival into the finish line is delayed.. and once again - those guys on Puma are clawing back up to us. We had put them back to over 80 miles - but as of this writing they are only 50m back and still closing.. the problem is that they seem to have gotten back into the slightly more normal wind sooner - and for sure they have a "better" more headed wind direction. And quite possibly they are shifting gears better than us.. its about 3x easier to do things like make sail changes on a 70 footer than a 100 footer - (at least that's what we are telling ourselves). We have a lot of respect for this team - many of whom have been sailing on R100 with us throughout the winter - and they are doing great.
Anyways - time to go back to work .. for those of you in the "pool" betting our arrival time - I hope you can push your bet back a few hours - I have mine.
PS. oh another interesting tidbit is that over half the crew were glued to the reports coming from the Nav Station (by tactician turned sports' announcer Erle Williams) of the big SuperRugby game btwn Australian Reds and the Warriors from NZL. Erle was reading the live updates on the Internet. the vast majority of the fans on board were devasted when the Reds won.