LAT 22 29.6N
LONG 074 38.0W
ETA 28 MAY 12
WEATHER WIND 015@8, SEA SLT, SWELL VAR, SKY 8/8 RAIN, BARO 1007
Gold Coast Australia has spent another day trying to make the most of light fluky winds as we race towards the Crooked Passage. At times today the sea was so glassy and flat it resembled a mill pond. The all too familiar thud thud thud of our sails as they flop from side to side in traces of Atlantic Swell that made its way between the islands is almost haunting.
A frustrated GCA crew are doing a fantastic job at keeping focused and the mood onboard is very happy and positive despite the hot windless conditions. The intense heat below brings people on deck between watches for a chat and a laugh, and our recent happy hours have seen some interesting antics as we blast the Stereo so loud that no doubt De Lage Landen would have been listening to some high class Reggae for a few hours every day.
In the last 24 hours we have had no less than thirty sail changes as the wind picks up to a few knots, changes direction and then drops back off again. Changing between wind seeker, Y1, Staysail and light weight spinnaker is a full time job throughout the watch, and the deck regularly resembles a the floor at the end of an Italian dinner party, covered in a spaghetti of sheets, lines and halyards and sails.
Our instruments are not holding up to the light winds and appear to have lost calibration so the helmsmen need to concentrate even harder to maintain our course in these light and fickle winds. Other electronics are also feeling the heat and need to be shut down occasionally, cooled and re-booted before they regain their function.
Our goal at the moment is to get north as quickly as possible and hopefully into fresher more consistent breeze. Only then can we begin to focus on reigning in on Visit Finland who seem faster in light airs and have come out of stealth an amazing 40nm to our north.
Our progress is a lot slower than expected for this part of the race and its anybody’s guess when we will reach the more predictable winds. The constantly changing light airs, and scattered islands and reefs in the area make it very hard to get the boat in the position that will best benefit us with the future predicted winds. GRIB files pay much resemblance to the conditions we are experiencing, and will no doubt be of little use to us until we are free of the Bahama Islands and into the American Basin.