26 27 Feb
We continue our upwind course toward Taiwan putting in a long starboard tack trying to stay higher than our competitors Zhuhai and Seattle just behind . We spot land which are some small island off the Sotheast tip of Taiwan We put in a series of tacks and have the aim of going paralell to the line of the sprint zone heading East till we find favouable breeze to cross it and head for the Nan Sei islands.
Early on the 27th we hit more breeze and put in a reef ,proceeding under yankee 2 and staysail. Round lunchtime we hit squally wet winds from the northeast at 20 to 30 knots and put in a second reef. It is warm and sticky down below ,awkward to do things because of the heel in the windward conditions and wet and cool on deck. We continue East.
Tonight at watch change Jorge said to me Rick we’ll just put in a tack. So our watch is getting ready to go down and the others are coming up.
It is dark and windy by the way. So I say ready to tack runner back ,nothing happens so ,I say it again ,someone comes back to the runner but nothing else happens, at the top of my voice WE ARE GOING TO TACK DON’T ANYONE GO ANYWHERE ,WHO IS ON THE PORT RUNNER, again WHO IS ON THE PORT RUNNER ? finally someone appears , ARE YOU READY ON YANKEE SHEETS, a feeble reply of no happens ,GUYS GET READY TO TACK ,( I am about to lose it ) Finally ARE YOU READY TO Tack ,Yes ,and we tack.I think they thought if Jorge wasnt up there so I wasnt serious ! How can it take so long for 2 watches to get ready for a simple evolution.
Anyway we now are clearly sailing into the monsoon and we are making ground.
And I wake and one hour ago we have entered the ocean sprint and we are sailing just off close hauled with one reef in the main and staysail and yankee 2.And I take the helm from Seamus and says just steer North,000 ,and we mem out X not be far from shaking the reef out.And the boat seems happy at firstf but in lulls she in underpowered. It is clear we need to shake the reef out,which we do.We are then making greater than 11 knots in the right direction.
And at end of Ocean sprint we are in company with Zhuhai and Punta. A Japanese coast guard jet aircraft passes over and radios Zhuhai.They find out about our race then wish us luck.Then return flying rather low over us.