LAT 40 32.0N
LONG 147 52.5W
ETA 0200 31 MAR 12
WEATHER WIND 280@30-45kts, Sea Rough 2m, Swell W 5m, Sky O/C, Cl, Baro 1012
The day started with a secondary front bringing more wind than the first and a change of direction to the west. It also bought with it a myriad of problems that would take Team Gold Coast Australia most of the morning to sort out.
As the wind shifted we set up to pole out the Y2 using our repaired “small pole”, however, unknown to us at the time the pole track had been damaged earlier in the race when we had a round up prior to Japan. This resulted in us being unable to hoist the pole to its usual height. Annelise Nelson headed up the mast with screw driver and hammer to straighten things out, and by sunrise we were almost ready to pole out the headsail. As the wind continued to veer it also increased in intensity. Not only was the wind increasing but the swell and sea were rising as fast as the barometer was dropping. After putting in a quick gybe, Gold Coast had its second problem for the morning – reefing the mainsail.
While we had experimented with our new systems putting reefs in and shaking reefs out while the wind was moderate, we had not yet trialled the system in over 30kts of wind. Sean Fuller went up the mast to try to resolve the issue but was unsuccessful, and consequently we were unable to keep some of the cars in the track in the desired fashion. We were able to reef by utilising our emergency drop systems and a complicated array of lines that go up the back of the mast to support the luff of the sail and this seems to be working well.
After a plethora of sail changes from Y2 to storm jib and back to Y3, Gold Coast Australia ran with the wind throughout the day with a polled out Y3 making good speeds towards Oakland California. Running repairs are made on the sails after each drop after hanks are broken due to the high winds and stresses on the sails. With the wind gusting up to 45kts in the late afternoon, and the sea becoming quite ferocious we have now packed the pole away as we decided to stick with the safer option that minimises the risk of any damage to the boat or sails thought the night. This sail configuration may allow the boats behind to sail slightly faster and make some miles on us through the night however in these conditions and especially at this stage of the race, I would rather play the conservative option. As the wind continues to veer we are able to still maintain course with good speed and at this rate we are predicted to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge before the end of the month!