Monday 31 May:
Yesterday was a pretty tough day! We always knew it was going to be to stay up to pace with the front we were riding to try and stay in the stronger SW wind. All day it was reef in, reef out, squalls, change spinnaker according to the wind and sea state due to the fact we were also in the gulfstream. (ie a large river of warm water that snakes along the USA eastern sea board and runs up to 6 knots from South to North)
It is very frustrating sailing trying to make decisions on sail plan to keep the boat rolling along safely but fast. In the early hours of this morning we went back to our A-5 spinnaker for a period but the drivers could not distinguish between the sea and the horizon as we had no moon or stars just as black as the inside of a cow! We were surfing along at 35 knots and decided to reduce sail as it was too risky. Right now we are on the north side of the front in a much better sea way in 20-25 knots of wind making good progress towards the UK with the odd surf up into the 30’s but generally sitting on mid 20’s. Not exactly where we planned to be on the race course but we have to deal with our circumstances and see how it all pans out.
The guys are doing a great job and four hours in the bunk after a fire hosing on deck for four hours goes pretty damn quickly especially after last night where we had all the crew on deck for eight hours changing sails etc… I am sure a few more hours sleep would not go astray but life on board is not too bad. Our freeze dried food is pretty good for freeze dried food and we have a toasted sandwich maker on board as a treat to supplement the FD food – the ham and cheese toasties are hard currency out here as they are not an endless supply!!
Will keep you posted...
Chris and The Leopard Crew