Doldrums corridor Australia Day

Started the morning just in the corridor ,code 1 spinnaker up ,light winds again. Yachts to thre west ,Korea WTC Punta Seattle Unicef had pulled ahead of us overnight .We finally started to make ground on all passing all but Punta and Unicef..The trick is to work out when to stop sailing.Do you motor straight away when your speed drops or do you persist with some sailing below the motoring speed of 6.6 knots, given that the corridor is 8 degrees of latitude long and you motor for 4 degrees. Motor early and risk being in light wind later or sail and then hopefully motor right to the end of the corridor.We fall into a wind hole of Rousell island ,on the Eastern end of mainland PNG.We persist and get a favourable current and breeze that gives us a speed anywhere from 4.5 to 8.5. And we start making gains on everyone. We go back past Seattle and leave them well behind.
It is Australia day and it is 1 days after Chinese New year. My mum had sent a New Year cake that she posted to Airlie. So we cut the cake up on deck and celebrate both.It brings almost the whole crew to the deck at the same time. On my sleep time after watch the heat and humidity is pretty awfull downstairs. I find a shaded nook on deck beneath the dropped staysail to sleep. I get woken up with any sail change including at one point going on thebowsprit to change a spinnaker tack ,then go back to my nook to sleep. Dare to Lead right at the back of the fleet start motoring almost at the corridor start. They come up to us and hand us over a new pump for our generator.At least now we will have enough water and won’t have to run the motor to charge the house batteries which would use more fuel than the generator. We persist into the night still sailing under the code 1 in the light airs .Helming is tricky to keep the boat moving and not collapse the kite .Finally near midnight ,when nearly becalmed we send an email to race office with our intention to motor ,for which you need to give 3 hours notice. Straight after we get a squall which pushes our boat speed to a steady 9 and a half knots ,though I have to bear away from a course of 345 to 50 degrees.The rain i the squall is typical for the tropics heavy and stinging, hurting my eyes and fogging my glasses making the instruments hard to see. This followed by the wind going ahead and dropping to 1 knot. It then picks up again and we are doing 11 knots back at 310 degrees. It all peters away but at least has given us a boost before we drop the kite and start motoring.
And this morning the bimini is over the boom keeping us cool. The guitar comes out and I accompany Jorge’s sultry low pitched voice , and occasionally the crew joins the chorus.

Dare to Lead approaching with water pump
On deck sleep zone
Eastern PNG

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