Hello All From Qingdao, (Geoff Woad) Well the last 24 hours have been quite amazing in terms of the sailing conditions, and everyone has been giving their 110% to keep the boat sailing fast towards the finish line with a minor detour through the Scoring Gate to pick up three points (yay, Go Qingdao) on our way towards the Ocean Sprint. As usual we had a few challenges on the way and managed to tear our Code 3 Spinnaker when an encounter with another vessel caused us to have to bear away resulting in a wrap on the forestay and subsequent tear when trying to fix it. However, the guys (in particular Joanne and Bertrand our on board sail repairers) have been working tirelessly to put the pieces back together again.
Anyway, yesterday afternoon, the wind and waves began to build and Qingdao really lifted her skirts and was tearing down the waves surfing along at 13 to 28 knots with just a mainsail and Yankee 2 flying in 35 knots of wind and 4 meter waves. Absolutely amazing to watch and even more amazing to maintain those kinds of speeds thoughout the night. Fortunately, the evening was reasonably well moonlit for most of the time and the stars were out so we had something to help guide us.
Because helming in those kinds of conditions is a really heavy physical job, a bunch of the crew were fortunate enough to get the chance to relieve the Skipper and AQP for 30 mins at a time when they needed a break. Actually, it is quite terrifying helming in those conditions when the boat starts to round up suddenly and the force required on the helm to correct the mistake is enormous. Several times the Skipper helped me out by adding his weight to the wheel to complete the recovery. The helmers also had to be very careful not to sail too deep to avoid the risk of a Chinese gybe. Near the end of the night time darkness, we launched our Code 2 Spinnaker again just before a glorious sunrise as the wind began to drop. As of now we have completed the Ocean Sprint and are on our way to the finish line trying to be careful to avoid the potential for wind holes.
Anyway, today the ‘foulies’ have been put away and its blue sky, sunshine, shorts and sunglasses.
Time to go on deck. All the best to everyone from Geoff Woad and Qingdao Crew