20 AUGUST 2011
LAT 08 42.7
LONG 024 37.3
A very hard day for Gold coast Australia and everybody is exhausted yet smiling as we sit down in the evening sun for happy
The day began sailing close hauled into a moderate South Atlantic sea and swell. The wind was about 18kts but gusting up to
28, and our team were driving the boat hard towards the South East to try to gain some southerly miles on our competitors
I decided to hit the bunk to get some well earned rest, and after about an hour one of the crew came and woke me up in
accordance with my standing orders which says call me if the wind changes by 5 kts. I was told the wind was only 10kts.
Give it half an hour I said as I rolled over to get some more sleep. Half an hour to the second, the same crew member was
back telling me the wind was still under 10 kts and we were hardly making way against the swell. Not one to discourage
enthusiasm, I got up, had a look around to see blue sky and only a few small clouds, and called for the number 1 yankee to
be hanked on.
No sooner had we hoisted the No 1 Yankee and dropped the staysail than I looked around to see a big black squall cloud
heading straight towards us at a rate of knots. I realized we would not have time to drop the sails, so I turned the boat.
eased the sails as it hit and ran with it. We screeched along for a good half an hour in pouring rain and 30+ kts of steady
wind. I was driving with my ski goggles on, and everybody else was just holding on. After the wind died down, we had a
beautiful steady 14kts, and we held the No 1 until I saw the next front on the horizon. We then changed back to the Y2 and
stay and put a reef in before getting hit byh the front. The wind backed, then veered, then thankfully backed again, and we
were off, perfectly trimmed for the next few hours, and a few hours of rest for me.
I awoke to see blue sky’s and the dark frontal cumulus clouds of the ITCZ behind us. The wind had backed nicely, and so we
put in a tack “To Rio” I yelled as we steadied up, and a big cheer went out from the crew.
It’s nice to be heading towards the west again, and to be sailing in such beautiful conditions we are very fortunate indeed.
It should be a fantastic sunset on the Gold Coast which is “famous for fun” tonight. BT