Dad’s birthday ,the man who taught me how to sail and everything he taught me is coming in handy.
Morning watch was a very light wind affair just trying to keep the boat moving . The breeze headed us toward the end of the watch and we raised the staysail and put in a tack.
Within 30 minutes of our watch the wind was howling . We went back up as support watch to reef the main . I went up the mast with Ollie to connect the handy billy and signalled a 1 back to Seumas to which he nodded,though I was skeptical, and the team put in reef 1. The gunwhales were still a foot or more under with the reef in ,and we had stayed on deck so within minutes we were back up putting in the second reef.
The next episode was a little scary , though I maintain that a healthy amount of fear is a good thing . The yacht was clearly overpowered and we were called back up on deck to drop the Yankee 2. For some reason I managed to get myself to the front of the line going up the foredeck . Shortly after clipping to the spare tether at the pulpit ,I sensed the bow in the air over a large wave and I instinctively grabbed the guard rails firmly. Next thing I was completely immersed in water the force of which was trying to wash me out of the yacht . I was relieved not to have become a tethered man overboard. The yankee was difficult to get down as it just wanted to reinflate but eventually with Ollie’s and my weight on it it started to drop and rest of the procedure was as straightforward as it could be under the prevailing conditions.
The wind moderated later and both reefs were shook out and the yankee re hoisted! Finally the windshift we were awaiting arrived and the code 2 spinnaker was raised . Our afternoon watch was a frustrating one trying to keep on course with a large sea and light airs but the wind did fill in at the end of the watch at 15 to 20 knots and we made some good progress. Qingdao we know are some 30 miles south of us . I guess we just have to minimise our errors and wait to see whose tactics will win through over the next few days .
Morning watch more broad reaching under spinnaker with varied winds and a confused sea state as we head more west towards the coast. Wind gradually heading us and we are beam/close reaching on our afternoon watch . Eventually the wind comes round further and we tack heading directly west towards the coast hoping to get some different breeze to Qingdao who are now 20 miles closer to the finish 500 miles away .