HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012
LAT 06 49.7S
LONG 154 08.1E
ETA 0600Z 24 JAN 2012
The new year could not have started in a more perfect way aboard Gold Coast Australia. After drifting around for the
majority of the day yesterday, the wind finally began to fill in at sunset just in time for NYE sunset drinks with a Pirate
theme. Our NYE Celebrations consisted of Janz Champaign courtesy of crew member Taz and some delightful canapé created by
our master chef Tim Burgess. After a brief disco on deck including glow sticks and strobe lights the focus resumed back on
yacht racing and we began to make up the miles that Geraldton had made on us throughout the day. At midnight we had a
fantastic breeze and Gold Coast was buzzing along at a great speed as we counted down to the new year and celebrated with some more Champaign courtesy of Babs.
Gold Coast Australia sailed well throughout the night on starboard tack back towards the centre of the Solomon Sea and in
the morning we had Geraldton in out sights as they passed 3nm across our bow. Geraldton soon tacked to cover us and
remained to the north of us throughout the morning matching our speed. As the fixed VHF set is not transmitting (despite
searching for the defect) I have been unable to talk to other yachts throughout the race due to being out of range. This
morning I was able to raise Geraldton using the hand-held VHF and me an Juan the skipper had a good chat. Late in the
morning as the wind began to back we tacked to the NE and managed to loose contact with Geraldton. Hopefully this will
prove to be a winning tack and when the wind comes back to the north this evening we will have regained the lead. Only time will tell if our tactics pay off.
The trade winds that are being sucked down to our current latitude of 6 degrees are generally NW, however develop a pattern
through the day and tend to veer through the morning and back through the afternoon. As the day gets hotter the winds
increased, and now in the cooling afternoon the winds have abated slightly allowing us to shake out the reef that we put
into the mainsail this morning and sail along in the perfect conditions enjoying the coldness of the afternoon breeze once the sun has lost its power.
During the day life onboard is incredibly hot and our 12V fans provide little relief. A loose wire in the fan wiring system
has resulted in the fans stopping when we come off a big wave, and then start again on when we hit the next wave. The
construction of these yachts is foam sandwich, making them like a big esky (or coolbox) or sometimes heat box. As we need
to run the engine every day to make power to run our navigation equipment etc I have been running it through the night time,
not only because that is when the majority of the power is required for lights etc, but also to keep the boat a little cooler during the day.
Throughout the day conditions have maintained their brilliance and there is no doubt that sailing conditions do not get much
better than this! The Solomon sea and its surrounding islands create a picture perfect location and do not be surprised if my address next year reads the following:
Coconut Tree No 5
There appears to be a greater abundance of marine life surrounding us now than any other time in the race as fish jump up
around the boat making way for us crashing to windward through the afternoon choppy seas. We have observed a few fishermen
in small boats throughout the morning, and also a couple of inter island ferrys crossing between Boganville and New Brittin
that tend to show a bit of interest in the colourful racing yacht sailing through their waters.
The forecast weather for us is looking good provided that we can make the 200nm and be out of the Solomon sea before the 3rd
of January, as after this the wind dies off considerably and will make sailing close hauled to clear New Britain and New
Ireland extremely frustrating and difficult. With the miles we are achieving at the moment this should not be a problem,
however, yacht racing being yacht racing, we are not taking any chances and pushing hard not only racing the other yachts in the fleet but also once again racing the weather.