I wake to the sounds of the windseeker coming down and the white sails going up.I go up on watch to a tantalising scene. The wind has headed us but is varying in direction from 45 to 70 degrees true.Halong Bay is visible 2 miles off our port bow and to leeward. The AIS shows all the others to be well to leeward.The wind is 7 to 10 knots on the nose and is shifting right favoring us .Our decision to stay further to windward and to the right has been vindicated. Within 2 hours of our watch the wind is more steady at 70 to 80 degrees true.The bearing now to Halong Bay suggests we are now ahead of them.
They cross the the sprint finish line before us .Shortly after our watch they tack and we cross well ahead. We are leading the yacht race. We tack to cover them and when they tack back.Punta and Bermuda are 5 miles to leeward and astern. Basically we have tacking duel with Halong at the front of the fleet.
Losing the Lead
We then make two errors that were in conflict with traditional yacht racing tactics, and going to cost us dearly.
1 we fail to cover opposition
2 we didn’t do the long tack first
When Halong Bay tacked for the mark we did not continue to tack to cover them.We sailed on and tacked later, I believe in response to a weather forecast that made the other side more favourable. This of course may or may not eventuate.
Doing the long tack you may get a favourable windshift that means you never have to do the short tack. And if you get an unfavorable one you can tack.
We went for the bird in the bush .We let go of the horns and it all got away.
I wake for my next watch to find Halong Bay 8 miles ahead and Punta and Unicef next to us.
Of course having been down this coast a few times Halong might run into a windhole and we sail past but it is unlikely.
We spend the day beam reaching in a moderate breeze for second place with Qingdao flying a kite behind in a desperate attempt to catch the three of us.
The wind goes around a few degrees later and we are the first of the three to set a kite and all goes well . Punta set a kite and have to drop it again and hoist it later.
We make very small gains .
Unicef now being 0.9 miles closer to the next mark. Qingdao seem to be just holding us but not gaining .
Hopefully the kite is still up when I get on watch for the drag race to the next gate.