Onboard Challenger the crew have finished enjoying their beat to windward (see my last blog) and are now enjoying some fantastic close fetching at a wild angle of heel to the South South West as we make an attempt to reel in Campagne De France the rocketship Class 40 about 85Nm ahead of us.
Our great hope now is that the upcoming transition into the next High will slow them somewhat and they will courteously take the opportunity to stop for a bottom scrub & some much needed R&R. Maybe not. On the subject- have you seen that boat? At Marina Lanzarote the pro crew of Challenger went and stood around that boat for about 15mins just to try to get a fix on what's new in sailing and how best to solve the rigging and deckhardware problems we all experience. To our eyes it has been impeccably designed, brilliantly executed and is kept perfectly maintained- displaying a standard of boat husbandry we are striving towards with Spartan Ocean Racing and the 4 boats we currently have- hopefully our rigger Daniel Degenais Gaw was taking copious notes. I was very interested also to learn that Halvard Mabire the co-skipper (and I think desinger and rigger) was actually the navigator on our boat (then called America's Challenge) in the 1997 Whitbread Round the World Race- so yes have we got good reasons to trying to catch up- jealousy and pride.
Meanwhile we are in some fantastic conditions - both headsails are set with a full main and Challenger is well powered up doing 10-11 in flat seas with a warm sun shining. The crew are now into the swing of things with the watch schedule and even waking up after 3 hours sleep is now not so much of a chore. There is one problem though - all I seem to hear down here at the nav station is ever taller stories being swapped on deck and way too much laughter so obviously I'm doing something wrong. Skippering 103 clearly states sailors are only trying their best when they are miserable- so we are going to have to reintroduce Baroque Music hour to temper things down a little and find that last eighth of a knot.