Nov 7 – 450 Miles to Go

At Saturday 1330, we are 453 miles from the finish line. If the current good conditions persist, we should make Tortola sometime on Tuesday morning. If the wind, currently 18 knots out of the Northeast dies or shifts materially, we’ll likely be somewhat longer.

Yesterday was another great sailing day. The wind through Thursday night dropped to about 15 knots and was still out of the North. As we wanted to keep the boat moving and sail SE, the best sail combination for us was to hoist the cruising spinnaker, which is what we did around 0900 after everyone was up and had breakfast.

Once we hoisted the chute, we had a great day’s run – making between 8-10 knots throughout the day. With the wind piping up later in the afternoon to about 22 knots, we had a short incident when the snap shackle on the spinnaker sheet opened. The sheet fell to the water and the sail began flogging like crazy (picture a 1300 square foot flag flapping in a 40 km/hr breeze). I got Ian to come take the helm whilst I ran forward to douse the chute into it’s sock. Dwight had retrieved the errant sheet and brought it forward to re-attach to the clew of the sail. That sorted, I pulled up the sock again and we re-launched the chute and continued our downwind romp.

However, an hour later, the shackle snapped open again and we had to repeat the fire drill. This time however, we decided to keep the chute in its sock and save it for another day.

We then rolled out the genny and continued sailing at about 8 knots throughout the night in a 22-25 knot breeze. This would have been another perfect night of sailing, except that the seas were growing to about 12 feet and the autopilot couldn’t handle the way the boat got tossed around by the waves. So, we hand steered through the night and continue to do so now. The crew has started to complain about this a bit, but I remind them that (a) sailing is a sport, and (b)there are limited other workout options on board so they should be thankful for this exercise opportunity.

Anyway, that’s all the news from here. Feel free to send us an email – just don’t send ours back to us when you hit “reply”. (ie: only send us text that you type, and of course, no attachments)

Cheers,
Colin

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