November 6,7,8

November 6

Just more of the same on starboard tack. 90 to 110 wind angle 1 reef in the main yankee 2 and staysail. 105 degree course across the waves toward Cape Town. The yachts to our South have made ground on us overnight .2nd to 7th place is going to be close. We go to shake a reef out at watch end but breeze comes back.

November 7

Still on starboard tack , close reaching, in morning under 1 reef +yankee 2 and staysail .First half hour at helmboat feels underpowered and now wind is 14 knots. I ask Su to get Jorge’s attention by knocking on Nav station window and at that point Jorge’s head is already popping up. I say to him ‘ shaky shaky time ‘ and he agrees and I instruct the cockpit to get ready to shake out the reef.
For those non sailors there is a lot to do. Explain reef.
I direct the procedure from the helm though Jorge is in the cockpit.
After this the shake out almost seems like an error as the wind comes back up to over 20 knots buy it son dies down again .
Manage to get for of us through the helm and the girls in particular steer a pretty straight course including Rachel nursing a broken rib. We gain a little back on Seattle .We go into stealth ay 1200. Seems we are now racing perhaps for 4th to 8th.The persistent Atlantic swell is still with us. Should be in Cape Town in 2 days but know we are likely to get hit soon from head with 40 knots before we finish .
Evening watch very difficult with breeze shifting and going from 13 knots and suddenly gusting to 25. Put reef in main and boat a little easier to control .
November 8

daylight watch 0800 rather lighter winds but some squalls coming the near distance.the weather is nice for a change with the sun shining .single layers foulie bottoms and the Sanya jacket and Crocs and socks. target is to keep the yacht moving at 50 to 55 degree wind angle .We’re now under full main yankee 2 and staysail and 11 knots of wind our initial course is somewhere near the 065 bearing to Cape Town. The first clouds knock us down to a course of 25 to 30 degrees and is enough for to release some pressure from the main by easing down the traveller but we are soon lifted back on course around the back of it. Half way through our watch the wind is enough that we put the first reef in . The evolution goes very smoothly. Jorge takes the wheel while we go past an approaching ship. I take the wheel for the last part of the shift and she is beautifully balanced in the now 18 to 25 knot breeze .We sail a relatively close hauled course pushing us higher than the waypoint at a speed of 9 to 11knots. Better to be somewhere to windward when the Mayhem hits tonight.The wind continues to increase and we go forward and drop the Yankee . Having had everything dry I now get soaked at the pulpit.
During the support watch we go up assist with putting in the second reef as the wind builds.
As I lie on my bunk in my now off time the boat is shuddering and sails flapping with
the sound of the 3rd reef in. Guess the wind has now hit 35 to 40 knots
That being completed the boat is now a lot calmer. As we approach the finish we fight out with 3 other yachts for 5 to 8 place
Seattle is ahead by near 20 miles but to leeward Korea behind by 2 but to windward Bermuda well behind a and to leeward
going to be an interesting watch tonight

approaching squall

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