UTZ 0442 July 4
TWD 242 degrees
TWA 138 degrees
TWS 22 - 27
Sea state - currently 4 foot rollers
Skies - high cloud cover, slightly broken
Well, our rabbit got caught, butchered and eaten. We lost maybe 5 miles with a couple of wild round ups (more on that later) but deep reaching in heavy air is not our sweet spot and it sure is for our competition. But it is a long race still, and we are racing as hard as we can in order to be able to capitalize if conditions turn in our favor.
Friday afternoon saw a low sweep down on us , from the south and with it loads more pressure. We swapped down from the big A2 kite to the A5 fractional and saw some really good pace out of what is a new sail for Dragon. First time I had ever used it in anger, and there was a learning curve on how high I could get it. 20 to 30 knots, no problem. 30 plus knots was a problem. And the one 45 knot puff we got was an ugly problem.
Winds were consistently 25 to 30 all afternoon, evening and into the morning, with rain and very big seas. I would say about 15 feet with the occasional roller even bigger. The system was sending us squall lines that saw the bigger air and put us on notice. A few times we had to roll up the A5 and go the solent. The boat was making mid teens and breaking into high teens when she was surfing. Only in the past 20 minutes has the wind settled to low twenties with some clearing in the skies.
Nothing broken, however. The boat is moving well, we are fully in our watch system and going typically 3 hours on, 3 hours off.
Wind Speed: 30-40 knots
True Wind Direction: 235
Sail Combination: Reefed Main and J4.
Boat Speed: 12.5-15 knots
Speed Over Ground: 16-20 knots
Distance to Finish: 2400 nautical miles
Air Temperature: 78
Water Temperature: 79
Our position is 40 50N 56 46W. We are in 25-30 knots of breeze, with 5-7ft seas. The boat and crew are holding up well. We have had a couple of days of this weather, heading for the ice gate the organizing committee set south of Newfoundland and we expect to be there tomorrow at which point we can put the left hand blinker on and head to England.
Having been at sea now for just under 48 hours, we have started to settled into our at sea routine despite the at times challenging conditions.
For the last 24 hours, we have been experienced strong SW Force 6 wind. Having started with a full main and gennaker, we have since leaving reduced the mainsail onbe reef at the time until now our third reef. Gennaker to jib to trysail. Grey Power is loving it with top speed in excess of 27 knots and we are most often sailing at 15 to 20 knots eating up the miles.
Jetzt sind wir in der Front, die bereits seit knapp einer Woche vorhergesagt ist. Die Böen haben stürmischen Charakter - 30 kn scheinbaren Wind raumschots. Wir haben das Groß sukezzive bis ins 3. Reff verkleinert und schließlich ganz geborgen.
Elmo: Gerade eben hat uns
Evening my sofa sailors
I hope all is well with you. I am sitting at the playstation with a full moon outside, the hatches open to let a gentle breeze in and the sound of laughter coming from the cockpit as the next watch settle in (Pedro, Adrian, Lisa and Matt).
Today started with calmer seas and heat, lots of sunshine and heat. Did I mention how warm it is? At midday it was 36 below deck. Utterly ridiculous. Up top everyone has been taking advantage and topping up the suntans. There is talk of hair washing tomorrow if the sun and calm waters remain with us. We are slowly moving out of the jet stream so the humidity is dropping. Maria he put suntan lotion on!!!
Our tiny little Rocketship manageded to get away from the start well.
Beatiful weather and many sail changes during day and night.
Unfortunately our competitor Privateer had to retire early with technical problems. That must be a bitter moment after all the hours of preparation.
However the competition is tough and currently Lucky is in front of us. This is a long distance many things can happen.
TWD 208 degrees true
TWS 18 knots
Skies: sunny, small cumulous couds
Seas: 3 foot swells
Wildlife sighted - one whale breaching, lots of flying fish, a couple of birds and unfortunately weed. We had to back down once.
Apologies for not posting more in the pre-race. We ended up in a mad scramble to make it to the start line, taking on a few too many jobs. A new dodger necessitated by the Annapolis Race, fixing the cockpit non-skid, replacing my clutches with Contrictors, and a new set of sails. Add that on top of job stuff that was going nuts, and there just was no time. What does is mean that you have to come out here double handed for 3,000 miles of sailing in order to relax?
I had planned on sailing DH with my sail maker, Mark Washeim of Doyle LI, but commitments and life events got in the way so I am now racing with Kyle Hubley. He and I have done a bunch of miles together this year already, and can make the boat move well together. He also was our preperateur, working round the clock for the past three weeks to get the boat ready for the start.
The start was 20 knots, on a shy reach. We got squeezed out in our approach to the line at Castle Hill and tacked into a stall, but then made it up well by holding the line to R2 without the need to put in any tacks like the other boats. That then freed us for the drag race out to the south end of Nantucket. The first leg of this race is really just about the mandatory mark at the south end of the Nantucket shoals, and then properly navigating the Traffic Separate Scheme. Minimal tactics, all about straight line speed. Stella Nova and Visit Brussels legged it out on the three American Class 40s who were stacked up on each others hips.
Only at the TSS did people have to show their cards, and almost every one played the GDF ensemble routing card which called for a long reach/run out to the south east. It aimed to avoid lighter breeze to the north, and let you intersect the stream for its push. We actually chose to stay north of that, aiming as close to the top of an eddy feature about 200 miles out while all of our competition went south. With the NOAA and Canadian models disagreeing, I just did not have enough confidence in the GRIB routing to bank on putting all those miles in to the south.
We were able to hold the line for most of the night under a Code 5 until around dawn when the wind backed and we went into an A2 spinnaker. The wind continued to back and went very light (5 knots) or about 5 or 6 hours where the 3 knots of current were our only friend. But we knew we were doing OK when we got Amhas on the and saw they were 3 miles to our south, and powered up on a different course. That new breeze came down to us and enabled us to wind up to about 11 knots of boat speed.
By the afternoon, we were lined up across about 5 miles of ocean with Dragon standing between the finish line and both Stella Nova and Amhas. Not bad for a days worth of work.
Stella Nova in particular is a good thing. They are four up in a blazing fast boat, so we are pretty chuffed about our positioning at the moment. It is something of pulling a rabbit out of the hat. Or a Dragon. Now we just have to be able to do that another dozen times over the next two weeks.
"We started 2 minutes behind all the other Class 3 yachts in the race yesterday in perfect conditions for Altair: 25 Kn of wind in 3-5' seas fine on the starboard bow. Within two hours, two yachts had returned to Newport, seemingly one retiring. A sad day for them a nd we wish them well. Reaching on three white sails (main, stay and jib) we averaged 11 knots, eventually switching to gennaker as the wind lightened but maintaining boat speed. At 15:49 UTC on Thursday the gennaker halyard blew with a bang like a small cannon, and the sail hit the water on the vessel's port side. The crew, mostly new to each other but already a good team, made the deck as one in seconds and within 10 minutes we were 3 sail reaching once again with only a knot dropped and course maintained. The crew then divided with CJ and Steve managing Danny up the mast to retrieve the failed but still visible halyard, while Ryan, Ken, Glenn, and later TJ did a sterling job detangling and repacking the gennaker for a rehoist within two hours from first blown.
We are once again reaching with main and gennaker in the warm currents of the Gulf Stream. It feels tropical and balmy, with a triple wave system of between 3 and 9 feet, with the latter as the peaks cross. Chef Lianne has kept us all well fuelled with delicious and timely offerings from the galley as we contemplate the journey East and North away from these balmy climes. We look forward to a hopefully peacefull night under the bright beams of the full moon."