44 hours into the 2015 RORC Transat and finally we have a bit of time to reflect on the race so far.
We started well, managing to get ourselves between Phaedo and the line. Coming in hot on port to th pin end, we won the start pushing Phaedo off the line. Unfortunately this was short lived, Brians experience came into play moments later, thier early deploy of the Gennaker allowed Phaedo to sail over the top of us.
So the chase was on, the green boat sailed really well for the first few hours, a combination of new 3di raw sails, carrying less spares/weight and experience allowed them to pull away. Lessons learnt here, our extra crew member and spare Gennaker didnt help with such weight sensitive boats, but decisions were made with the big picture in mind (Getting the boat to the other side and learning our modes).
The first night proved to be really exciting, we picked our way through the islands using the wind funnel between Tenerife and La Palma to extend to the south west. The wind built to about 30+ Knots, which for us VMG running means two reefs and the big Gennaker and sustained boat speeds of over 32 knots. Made all the more interesting by the clouds masking the moon, so it really way pitch black night. Short gybing to stay in the pressure kept everyone on deck and rather wet with a continual hosing of spray.
By the final gybe south into lessening pressure everyone was pretty ready for a couple of hours kip. Not that that is particularly easy with the boat bouncing around like a stallion at 30 knots.
The next strategic move and arguably the most important of the race was how to get south into the trades. A high level low was manipulating the gradient and making for some pretty tricky tick winds to the west. We spotted this early and worked hard on a more southerly lane making the most of the more pressure to the east. So far this seems to be paying off, Phaedo have slowed and allowed us to claw back some precious miles.
The sailing has been absolutely incredible so far, these boats just chew up the miles. At the moment we have flat calm seas, 13 knots of breeze and are comfortably sitting at 20 knots of boat speed. Even better that that is the fact that we sailed all night in shorts and T-Shirts. Sailing in the Solent is going to be pretty hard after this!
Life down below is getting a little bit to warm though, the joys of carbon boats with no ventilation. The off watch at the moment is occupied with fixing a temperamental water maker and keeping the calorie intake up with lots of freeze dried.
So the next 24 hours are going to be really telling, its a drag race to the trades, hopefully we get there first.