LAT 14 57.6N
LONG 077 20.8W
ETA 0600 27 May 12
WEATHER WIND 115@22, SEA MOD, SWELL NE 2M, CLOUD 2/8 Cl, BARO 1005
Spray flies through the air and water cascades over the deck as we power through another wave. Gold Coast Australia has been charging towards the Windward Passage since the start of Race 11 trying to balance speed and height so as to make the best course to the islands and scoring gate.
This morning the wind picked up to full trade wind force, an almost perfect 20 knots, with the occasional small gust forcing us to change down from full main and Y1 to one reef and Y2. The headsail change was made at first light, and for many onboard it was the first headsail change while racing. While hanking the new sail onto the forestay I bore away to make life easier for the team on the foredeck, this took us from a mile above Geraldton Western Australia to almost alongside, and a “friendly” exchange of banter was passed between boats as we drew close.
Everybody got involved in the headsail change and looked like drowned but satisfied rats as they returned from the foredeck. While the change understandably took longer than normal, it was done in good time and after a successful hoist of the Y2 we set about putting in a reef before continuing our charge.
Trying to find the perfect balance between speed and height has been our biggest challenge, and while we have maintained our position as the most easterly yacht in the fleet, a couple of yachts De Lage Landen and Derry Londen Derry have snuck underneath us making some very good speed to the north and are now leading the fleet.
The fleet is still very close together as all the crews sail the boats well with the same aim of winning this massive sprint to the Windward Passage.
Our aim at the moment is to try to catch De Lage Landen and Derry Londonderry and try to stay to the east of them allowing us to cover the fleet. We are working very hard to try to sail the boat hard and fast.
This is defiantly a different ride to the previous race. It is fast, exhilarating wet and slightly wild. The different conditions are a challenge for some people to get used to, as the boat is continuously bumping over waves, and we are sailing at a 20-25 degree angle. Some crew members are still suffering bouts of sea sickness though the majority of the crew are in full form and enjoying the ride.