Southern Atlantic Leg

23 October

After the usual parade of sail we sailed a short round the cans course and were second out of the harbour of Punta Del Este .Having our yankee 2 up whilst Qingdao had their 3 we quickly climbed past them. We then bore towards S Africa and set a spinnaker ,initially setting the code 3 but the wind was dropping . We changed to the code 2 and did lose a little ground in the process. Then we settled into our watch system . It was tricky conditions towards dark and with a completely new watch it was difficult to work who I could get on the helm . The racing was close and difficult to know where we were placed with several yacht lights around us.
Woke for the morning watch with 15 to 20 knots of breeze with the code 2 up. Several yachts were within eyesight with Halong Bay just ahead whom we seemed to be catching and Seattle and Bermuda behind and Zhuhai on a parallel gybe. With the building sea state we had a few broaches toward the end of the watch. The weather is now much cooler but actually very pleasant on deck. Several broaches on the watch after us made things a little uncomfortable down below. The 1800 sched after 24 hours of racing but Qingdao are reported as last ,and
they are much further South . Don’t think these reports mean much at this stage. We have had one injury with a crew member hitting his eyebrow on the grinder and one of my watch is rather green from sea sickness.

24 25 October
4 hours on watch ,downwind with a mildly difficult sea ,15 to 20 knots and I think I end up on the helm for a couple of hours. 15 minutes in to the next watch steering gear on the starboard wheel breaks. We have to reduce sail so the spinnaker comes down while we repair. So we lose quite a bit of ground over several hours.
Next watch all 5 through helm in rolling sea .
Evening watch still 15 knots with code 2 still up.

26 October
Difficult night to sleep. Seemed to be a lot of round ups and broaches with the yacht trying to throw me into my cave locker. Gybed just before our watch and when we came on deck our initial task was to steer a 160 degree wind angle but with the wind dropping from 20 down to 11 the course was quickly changed.
Again a pleasant morning sailing under the code 2 spinnaker in 12 to 18 knots. This was interrupted by one spectacular round up and broach following a windshift, and taking a very long time to correct.
We gybed later in the watch to take advantage of a windshift. Some coaching of a couple of our helm was aptly done by Jorge. We were sailing in company of Seattle, Punta ,UNICEF, Bermuda. Seems half the fleet is coming the same way as us and the other half have gone South. Time will tell.
A nice evening watch with a stunning sunset behind us . All our watch helming well . Still the same task ,steer 140 degree wind angle. Code 2 spinnaker wind dropping from 18 knots down to 12. We gain a little on Punta and lose a bit to Seattle. Odd being out in middle of South Atlantic ,2 lights to port 1 to starboard and 1 behind.
I wondered why we had difficult holding this spinnaker in the quoted wind speeds, later we worked out the outside instrument were underestimating the wind strength.

27 October

Yachts all round .Variable strength breeze from behind. Wind going really light .Change to code 1 from code 2. Make more ground on Korea who are directly behind . Difficult steering for the latter part of our watch to maintain speed in the very light airs . On watch following us breeze come up and code goes back up again but wind dies ! Making up ground and now the gybing angle is ahead of our competitors .Scheds however put us 6th.
As always time will tell.
Light wind evening watch ,gybes at watch change coming on. Yachts all around. We are in a good position.

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