LAT 30 55.4N
LONG 130 37.8E
ETA 06 APR 12
WEATHER WIND – RANDOM NW-NE 5-25kts, Sea Moderate, Swell Low confused, Cloud O/C, Baro 1014
Another full on 24 hours for Gold Coast Australia as we battle our way along the Japanese coast with Singapore and Derry close astern.
While the crew on Gold Coast are settling in, the elements and conditions have not been very kind to them with wind shifting in direction up to 90 degrees and wind blowing between 5 and 25kts making life onboard tough going as we are constantly trimming and changing sails to maintain our speed and keep our lead over the rest of the fleet.
Life onboard has been further hampered with the loss of our batter charger, which began smoking yesterday indicating that there is a severe problem. Luckly I was in the Nav station at the time and as soon as I smelt smoke shut down the generator and all associated power. We have been with out power some of the morning as we isolate the charger in an attempt to find the problem and re-build it. This means first isolating all power to it which would normally be a simple task, however, on a yacht that is moving around whilst you are trying to work in confined spaces nothing is ever easy. With any luck our onboard electrical engineer Eric Featherstone will be able to solve the problem and get the charger working again otherwise we are severely restricted in our power usage for the remainder of the race.
Our situation was also hampered when a sudden gust of wind at watch changeover caused the helmsman who had just taken the wheel to round up. A combination of being in the middle of a watch hand over and some lack of experience resulted in reactions not being as quick as required to deal with the situation. The spinnaker simply flogged two times, but its awesome power was enough to snap the pole in half resulting in an emergency spinnaker drop and quick hoist of the Y1 headsail which we sailed under for the rest of the night.
Tactically this part of the race has been very tricky as winds are quite hard to predict and there appears to be a lot of influence from the high mountains of Japan resulting in gusty and shifty conditions which make sailing in these waters very tricky. To add to the difficulty there is a high volume of shipping in the area, so we are maintaining a constant watch on the Radar to ensure that the large ships have identified us and can keep clear in areas of low visibility.
What the weather will do over the next few days is uncertain however the situation of the HP and LP systems in the Pacific and our 42 degree latitude limitation will make this a very tactical and exciting race indeed. There is certainly a lot to learn for all onboard Gold Coast Australia this race as the elements will make it very demanding. All are doing very well to learn as much as possible and also spend the time teaching each other the best techniques for sail changes, trimming and other elements of life on board. Our position in the fleet is a good indication of the effort and dedication of the crew so far.