LAT 12 49.0N
LONG 090 52.6W
ETA 0400 Local (1000UTC) 01 May 2012
WEATHER Wind 310@8kts, Sea Slt, Swell NW 1/2m, Cloud 3/8 Ci, Baro 1006
Another beautiful sunrise for Gold Coast Australia as we lead the fleet towards Panama and the finish at Remedious finish gate with a fresh morning breeze.
Shortly before midday the breeze died off and Gold Coast Australia was left coasting over a glassy ocean amongst turtles and dolphins and a Manta Ray trying to gybe to make the most of the fluky changing wind direction and make our best VMG towards the finish.
During the afternoon the breeze finally began to fill in and Gold Coast Australia began to once again pick up speed and make a more direct course for the finish line. The afternoon sked revealed that the light winds of the morning had allowed De Lage Landen to take some miles from our lead. After plotting the positions it was calculated that we had 15nm less to run for the shortest distance to the finish than DLL, a distance that could easily be lost if we did not sail to our full potential or if the wind did not fill in.
Sharks close to the boat stalked what looked like a school of Marlin entertained the team for part of the afternoon watch, putting on a fantastic display as the school of Marlin attempted their escape. One Marlin was not so lucky, and the sharks played with it, tossing it into the air before going for the kill.
In the evening Gold Coast Australia managed to avoid disaster after a observant crew noticed a long line ahead. The line was too close and too long to alter course and sail around, but we were able to drop the spinnaker and stop the boat in time before it got too tangled around the keel and rudder. I was then able hook it with the boat hook, cut the line before it became too taught. With no time to spare we re-hoisted the spinnaker and continued our pursuit of the finish line. Not more than an hour later a second long line became hooked on the keel and a similar procedure was carried out in good fashion ensuring that we did not loose too much time. The long lines in this area are hundreds of metres long, unmarked and float on the surface, unlike the ones in Asia making them hard to avoid and making them a danger to shipping. This non-selective catch method is also extremely destructive to our environment as it kills and maims thousands of innocent victims.
Near midnight as the crew sailed the boat with vengeance the wind began to swing north of west and Gold Coast Australia gybed to the east to make the best VMG towards the line. At about the same time DLL came up on AIS and it was good to note that we had made some miles on them as we made our final dash towards the line.