Crew member on GBR958R Jangada

on . Posted in Blogs

Title: The wrong kind of waves!

Rupert Holmes and Richard Palmer on JPK1010 Jangada

Position 11.27N, 47.45W

Boat speed 7-10 knots

Wind ENE 18-22 knots

Air temperature 29.7C

Sea temperature 32.1C

Weather 9/10 clear skies with bright sun

Instead of the 3,000 miles of glorious downwind surfing we were

promised, we started with calms, then days of headwinds, squalls and

more light airs. As a result, we've had to go well south compared to

traditional routes to get into solid tradewind conditions.

Even then, we're not getting the sustained easy surfing you might expect

thanks to a confused sea and wind-driven waves that have such a long

wavelength that most refuse to crest. A couple of days ago we gave up on

running with the S2 and S4 spinnakers, as the sea state meant we had to

sail more than 35 degrees off the flat water downwind polars just to

keep wind in the sail.

Instead we have a poled out jib and mainsail - an easy old-school

arrangement that allows us to point dead downwind at Grenada. An initial

screening of progress after dropping the kite showed a 4 per cent

decrease in boat speed, accompanied by a 5 per cent drop in distance

sailed - in otherwords a small net gain. Importantly, for a race of such

marathon proportions it has also significantly reduced wear and tear on

the boat, fittings and sails.

The other frustration is huge amounts of weed that wraps around both

rudders and the keel. In day light it's possible to steer around the

biggest clumps, but at night impossible. An advantage of running without

a spinnaker is that the frequent luffs head to wind to allow the boat to

back up and clear the foils are much easier if you don't have to drop

the kite first, especially as we are double-handed.

A wind shift this evening will see us gybing onto starboard for the

final run into the finish. Hopefully the new wind will break up the

patches of weed... and the forecast wind angles look promising for a

fast blast with the A5 spinnaker.

Routine on board continues as before, although less time is needed to

analyse weather and routing options as we close on the finish. There are

also minor changes to diet as the last of the fresh vegetables are

almost gone.

The routing software suggests we will finish sometime between Saturday

evening and theh following morning local time. We're pushing for the

former on the premise that Grenadan rum will taste better on a Saturday

night than a Sunday morning.