A friend sent me yesterday's reports describingt my "bold move"...

 

Since departing Salvador, I've had my eye on a short doldrums crossing that has opened at 33W. It has been persistent in the quikscat satellite radar data, and shows as well on satellite full disk images. It would allow a straightforward sail through, and then a sprint to the north to get westerlies to go around the Azores high....

 

© Fletcher Media

 

Since departing Salvador, I've had my eye on a short doldrums crossing that
has opened at 33W. It has been persistent in the quikscat satellite radar
data, and shows as well on satellite full disk images. It would allow a
straightforward sail through, and then a sprint to the north to get
westerlies to go around the Azores high. What's unnerving is that it
doesn't show on the computer generated grib files, but I'll take the hard
data from the satellite radar and photo over the model. The question is
whether I can get there and then get through before it closes. Today was my
9th equator crossing under sail (one under ship power after we were rescued
off Cape Horn in a capsize and then re-righting by a wave of the 60'
trimaran Great American), and I've not seen this direct opportunity before.
So perhaps a "bold move" as described, but this race is also about the
courage of one's convictions, and I think it's a good shot. Since Salvador,
we haven't had quite the boatspeed of the others in the middle group, so
simply to follow is not going to work. I've also been quite conservative as
we've a cut in the starboard D2 PBO cable that we think still has 70-80% of
its core bundle. We had added 10% more fibre to our cables that already had
a 3x safety margin, so we think we're ok, but it's unnerving not to have
perfect cables up there. This was chafed in the Transat Jacques Vabre by a
batten. On the last afternoon before the start, we put up a 'sister' cable
of 12mm SK78 alongside to take the load and save the mast if the PBO cable
broke. I pushed a bit when we were alongside the coast, and had some
reasonable speeds, but am still learning the boat. As we approached the
trades, I selected our heavy air reacher, instead of our lighter air bigger
gennaker, so that I could learn that sail. It has handicapped us a bit
being smaller, but also saved us in the big squalls last night, where the
gennaker would not have survived. Yesterday, I did 5 sail changes in 50
minutes in the afternoon, then the same thing at 2 am, both times through
squall lines that came seemingly out of nowhere, and suddenly you're on
your ear. Very fatiguing. I count the grinds on the pedestal. To go from #2
reef to #1 reef is 365 grinds in low gear, then the leech reef line and
mainsheet. You get the picture - sailing these boats is a handful, and I've
an older one, with less power than those at the front. Anyway, we have
about 24 hours due north to get to my quikscat opening - I hope it's still
there when I get there!

Also, Dee commented about questioning "deserving" her new boat - You DO
DEE! It was a great passage you made around the world, really well done,
and it's great that you're getting a new boat.

Rich Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

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