Well, we lost data connectivity several days back so apologies for the lack of posts from Dragon.
It was probably for the best. My creativity only extends so far in coming up with different ways to describe sitting inside of the same low pressure system. Had I been able to pos
t, the messaging would have inevitably gone along the lines of "Day one million of our occupancy in this low pressure system, and we just received a residency tax bill. It is cold, wet, windy, and an ugly wave state. Send a care package."
As it stood, we wrapped up our northward gybe in the early morning hours of Saturday and flopped over to make our eastward run at the finish line. We finally saw the low move north and past us later that morning, although seas remained lumpy, winds remained in the 20's and boat speeds were still in the teens. Fast enough that the bucket du toilette was ripped from Kyle's hands during a rinse. I nearly sent him in after it.
Saturday and Sunday was one long spinnaker run on starboard with us able to fetch the south end of the Scillies at dawn on Monday. As we saw the ghostly outline of its light house on port, we had Rambler 88 rolling us on starboard at the same time. I feel modestly thrilled to have held them off for that long. Two gybes later and we finished at 10:12:07 EDT.
We finished in a smidge less than 12 days. Back in 2011 it took us 16 days in what was a light air race, but in conversations with friends before the race I had described 12 days as the best I could possibly have hoped for do I would feel as if we had an amazing performance.
That was until Stella Nova went Super Nova and established what will be a formidable new benchmark for a Class 40 crossing. Hats off to them - they were having beers in their home port of Brest while we were still eating freeze dried. Being double handed and having significantly less cockpit protection than them, I don't think that we could have withstood the punishment they must have taken to launch into the middle of the low and finish as quickly as they did.
A couple of interesting data points from this year's race:
Total gybes or tacks made = 7. Yup, 7. I almost feel lazy typing that.
Total number of hours where the wind was forward of 115 True Wind Angle = 8 hours, all prior to reaching the Nantucket mark.
Total hours where there was less than 10 knots of wind = 10 hours.
After reaching the mandatory mark at the south end of Nantucket on the very first day of this race, the entire trip was downwind running. The only question was if we could hold the big kite (winds in the teens), the hard luffed kite (winds in the twenties) or blast reach with the Solent (winds in the thirties). I have never sailed so many consecutive miles on one board (1500 miles).
Given the amount of wind and the truly vile seas at various points, it is remarkable that the carnage was as limited as it was. One lost coffee mug, one broken spork and the aforementioned bucket du toilette.
Why spend 12 days of your life traveling to a destination that can be reached in 8 hours by plane? Because the reward comes from the journey, not the destination. Thanks to NYYC, RYS, RORC and STC for making the adventure possible.
Michael Hennessy, standing by on 16.