Crew member on GBR958R Jangada

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Jangada RORC Transatlantic Race - Day 9

Trade wind routine

Position 19.43 North, 28.36W

Wind 050-080 degrees, 12-21 knots

Weather 3/10 cumulus cloud

Air temperature 27.5 Celcius

Having been in the trade winds for a couple of days - our latitude is

now below 20 degrees north - we've settled into a routine of brisk

downwind sailing. We have mostly 15-17 knots of true wind speed, which

occasionally builds to 21 knots, from the east north east. That means

running deep at true wind angles of 160-165 to maintain our best speed

towards Grenada.

There's a complex swell pattern - we've now left behind most of the big

northerly swell that came from a low pressure in the north Atlantic, and

the local wind driven waves are growing in dominance, but there are

still awkward waves from the south east. If you sail too deep downwind

the seas knock the air out of the spinnaker and Jangada slows down.

Coverserly, steering high delivers impressive boat speed and a feeling

stability, but velocity made good suffers dramatically.

While it's not as exciting as reaching at hotter wind angles, we're

making good progress, mostly clocking speeds of 7-10 knots with

occasional prolonged surfs of up to 12 knots.

However, there's an obstacle in the way - a large area of high pressure

sitting right in the middle of where the trade winds should be around

700 miles to the west of us. That's why the fleet is predominately

heading west-south-west, to stay in the stronger favourable winds to the

south of the low. We've just gybed west to take advantage of a

favourable wind shift, and will then gybe back onto port tack early

tomorrow morning.

We're following on the heels of the much larger boats IRC Class 1,

hoping to pick off as many as we can on corrected time before the

finish. Otherwise, all is quiet out here, although there's more sealife

than in the apparently desolate zone north of the tradewind belt - we

have occasional dolphins, sea birds and flying fish, the latter in

schools of up to 20. We also have in sight the first two cruising yachts

we've seen since the start, who are also heading west towards the Caribbean.

Rupert Holmes and Richard Palmer on JPK1010 Jangada