15th November 2015 Concise 2 Blog
We have definitely now entered the drag race phase of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Our routing shows us a 949nm straight line south, with little variation in wind direction along the track.
There is only one tactic here, put up as much sail as you possibly dare and then keep steering hard, he who breaks boat, sails, crew or bottles out loses. That is a lot of pressure on over a near 1000 mile track, and with our competitors just a stones throw away from us on the water the heat is on to stay in the game. It’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out. Theoretically the 3rd generation boats should show us their heels now and we will be pretty powerless, literally, to stay in touch with them. Groupe Setin are our closest rival now, being a similar aged boat but even then who has the most power at their fingertips will also rely on what sails we each have onboard to cover this wind range. At the moment we are pushing it with the biggest sails we can, there is water flying everywhere and during the gusts the boat is trying to wrestle itself from our control. Conventional seamanship at this stage is screaming at us to take some sail down but putting in a reef though
leading to a much more manageable boat also loses us a knot of boat speed so we need to lock in for the wild ride.
Meanwhile in the sweatbox down below the big spinnaker repairs are coming along. I have been steering in the morning and sewing in the afternoon, the sewing is harder going than the steering, it is so hot down below my head starts to go foggy quite quickly and my eyes smart from starring at that garish pink for hours at a time. I will have an estimate of how many metres of sewing I will have completed at the end. Answers on a postcard?
Along with our on the water race we are now racing against time to get in as fast as possible. We received news yesterday that the cargo ship which is supposed to be taking Concise 2 back to the UK will be loading on the 24th. Current routing does not put us there on the 24th and this ship may well be steaming out of the harbour as we are crossing the finish line. We are trying not to get stressed about this situation now as the 24th is still a long day off, though seldom have I known routing to go down in time.
We are running low on cooking gas onboard now too so are starting to come up with ingenious ways to cook our food. We tried making porridge on the engine with not much luck but are going to have a stab at heating ready cooked packet of rice and stew on there tonight.
At the moment we are barrelling along with great speed towards the Brazilian coast which we will converge with tomorrow. We can feel the presence of the other boats, it is making me nervous with the competition still being so hot and when I am not steering every other glance is a furtive one at the instruments to check our progress. Only four days of this intense pressure to deal with..