Gold Coast Australia had an interesting start to Race 7 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race from Gold Coast Australia. Conditions were fantastic winds but a rather large sea and swell, and consequently the race start was moved foward half an hour to allow spectator boats and the committee boats to return inside to the safety of the broadwater and get over the infamous bar while conditions remained safe.
As we lined up for the start the alarm system below started ringing and I went down to investigate. To my horror the bildge had over 1ft of water in it. Since we had just come out of our dry dock phase courtesy of Boat Works I thought that one of the sea cocks may not have been secured correctly however after further investigation it was the stern gland that wraps around the engine shaft separating the normally dry hull from the surrounding water. The stern glad had split and to replace it we would have had to wait for the next high tide to cross the bar and head back to the Boat Works boat yard. We decided to try to fix it ourselves, and with a bit of sickaflex, self amalgamating tape and a can-do attitude the leak has now been reduced to a dribble.
While we were dealing with this at 2 minutes to go as we were tacking for our final approach to the pin end of the start one of our Yankee sheets came off so the Yankee had to be dropped and the sheet re attached. Thankfully this didnt take long and Gold Coast still had a good start.
We tacked out to make the most of the East Australian Current (EAC). This tack made us some good ground on the rest of the fleet and we rounded the top mark in fourth place then headed to the shore line to get out of the current.
Gold Coast was making fantastic ground up the coast and at the last sked we were in second place. We have since headed back to sea to look for a EAC eddie that is located to the west of the Low pressure system ex Tropical Cycone Fina that is giving us our wind at the moment. To my delight our Speed over ground (SOG) is now more than our Boat Speed indicating that we are now in the current. Even better than this we have 30-35kts of following wind to push us up the coast.
A close eye is being kept on the movement of another Tropical Cyclong north of Darwin that is expected to cross Darwin on Boxing day and make its way to the east coast of Australia. Depending on what weather model is used, this will either remain to the west of us closer to Darwin or hopefully pass behind us and boost us towards Papua New Guinea.
Hopefully at this point Gold Coast Australia is back in the lead and can reach the Coral Sea in first place and make the most of the wind that is there to get as close as possible to the trade winds.
All I want for Christmas is another yellow pennant