Finally some proper sailing. Again our watch sailed with light winds and the code 2 .A tight wind angle of 80 to 90 degrees and we are getting along at close to the wind speed of 8 to 11 knots.
Later when on support watch we go on deck to drop the spinnaker. This proves to be tricky in the increased breeze and my arms end up changed by the spinnaker from bear hugging it.
We hoist the staysail and drop the anti wrap net.
I wake to 20 to 30 knots of breeze from the North East. At this stage we are under full main and staysail .The sail plan can be handled but seems a bit out of balance. As we approach the ocean sprint we reef the main and finally hoist the yankee 2. The yacht is now steaming along and a delight to steer
Qingdao had finally edged themselves ahead and we remain ahead of the others.
So on watch change we set the code 3 .Support watch that were on deck were a bit leaves having just hauled up the yankee 1 and set it that I ask to come up the foredeck to collect the code 3.
So as is the usual procedure ,staysail down , spinnaker up , yankee down, anti wrap net up.40 minutes.
Tom has the wheel for the evolutions and the first part of the watch. I take the wheel the boat is nicely powered up down the waves but the sea is sloppy in between .Jorge ,our first mate basically challenges me to make 16 knots and that he’ll take the wheel after me and do .Anyway I max out at 15.9, he at 15.6 , and Carl later at 15.5 .Despite this the the sloppy in between condition means we only average 10.5 for the watch.
We remain in 3rd gaining a little over Korea.
Day of Contrasts
11 / 12 Feb
Wake in my bunk and realise boat is leaning the other way so we must have gybed.Came up on deck we have code 3 up with 15 or so knots of breeze at the end of Luzon strait imo South China Sea. During the morning the breeze comes up at times to near 25 knots.We have a broach early on and adjustment of the vang reduces chances of it recurring.
There are some good surfing conditions ,Tom cranks out a 17.9 knot surf .
Later in the shift I plunge down a wave at 19.1 knots ,the high染色体for the leg.
We were still in 3rd place around 10 miles in front of Punta.
Later while sleeping I hear commotion on deck .The kite halyard has snapped and the crew are retrieving the kite from the water.
I hear a bit later after the kite has been packed to re hoist the spinnaker and drop the yankee. The kite hoist goes well.As the crew prepare to drop the yankee I am thrown into the cave lockers near my bunk. The yacht has broached and Seumas is having trouble to control the boat. The kite is dropped.
I get out of my bunk ,still had more than an hour of ‘off ‘ watch,and went to the nav station. Punta has caught up considerably ,is visible behind and are still flying a spinnaker in the 25 knot breeze.
Seumas appears at the nav station talking about spinnakers and needing to try again.I said to him why don’t you reef the main first, he said good idea. In the prevailing 25 knot conditions reducing the mainsail area reduces the tendency of the main to round the boat up into the wind We reef the main and set the kite and get the yankee down.All gone well this time.Soon after this the wind is dropping and we shake the reef out. By change to our watch the wind has dropped further and we swap the code 3 for the code 2.All of this keeps us ahead of Punta. We are then running deep to try and lay the next mark .We are running ridiculously deep with kite collapsing frequently and at risk of wrapping despite the anti wrap device.Common sense prevails and we gybe then later gybe back. We now gain ground on Punta who are pushing deep.The wind continues to drop and we swap the code 1 for the code 2.We manage to get 30 miles past the mark before the wind drops almost completely.On the next watch the windseeker goes up .
We stay ahead of Punta who now head west whereas we head more east.
So a contrast of days from surfing waves to dead calm.