The sea is still running with 3 metre waves but wind gradually easing. Reefs in the main have been shaken out overnight and we are back under full main and yankee 2. We are still off the wind but sea state not allowing a spinnaker. There is some chafing of the active yankee sheet , so we raise the staysail then drop the Yankee and re hoist it with a new sheet . The wind has come round to higher angle so we leave the staysail up. We make good speed under white sails occasionally hitting 17 knots. By the end of our watch we are on the wind and it has dropped to 13 knots .Just waiting for what is to come.
Evening watch , at watch change we swap yankee 3 for yankee 2 In anticipation .We are on the wind on starboard tack and wind gradually builds to over 20 knots. We double reef the main..
eery night ,very dark ,cloudy and no stars
the wind continues to build overnight sleeping is difficult due the
yacht crashing into waves
Woke to find us travelling under a triple reefed main and staysail and 45 to 50 knots wind speed with the wind on the nose and some steep seas. The yacht was very well balanced to steer though the waves did knock you off course. I was surprised how comfortable it was on deck in the conditions though not so down below. During the morning the wind lightened and shifted and we tacked onto port and then later shook out one reef and hoisted the yankee 3. We were soon beam reaching in 20 to 25 knots.Soon after going down I was back up on support to assist put the 3rd reef back in .
Being the medical assistant ;during support watch I was busy treating injuries that had occurred down below due to falls on steeply heeled floor. Seems the cabin is often a dangerous place. Our evening shift, which is now all in darkness , we were beam to close reaching again now heading due east toward Cape Town. The stars finally came out during our shift and for a time the belt of Orion (‘ the pot ‘ in Aussie) became a guiding light.
Next morning we are still close reaching due East this time toward the morning sun . On the helm the yacht feels relatively overpowered with 2 reefs in the main . The sky has broken blue in between some grey clouds and there were some squalls approaching . The first of these is relatively manageable. Soon after I hand over the helm we are asked to follow a course slightly deeper . Wind is increasing and I end up taking back the helm and it is a lot heavier . I hand the helm on and start getting the crew to adjust some sails .Unfortunately a crew member incorrectly eases the yankee sheet let’s go and some overriding turns are created . The noise on deck is enough for 1st mate Jorge to appear and we sort it out. He takes the helm and is on it for the next squall and we put the 3rd reef back in. The yacht is much more controllable after the reef. Gusts still coming through at 30 to 35 knots.
Seems our competition didn’t get hit so head on as we expected and 4 of them are a fair way further east. The wind is expected to go a bit further behind so we will soon be experiencing downwind conditions again.