Bonne anniversaire Bertrand!
Bonne anniversaire cher Bertrand! Au’jourd’hui notre amis Bertrand ces’t vingt-et-un (encore!). Or as us anglophones say, happy birthday Bertrand, 21 again!
This makes today a very exciting day as we celebrate our first birthday at sea, however, there is a most definite air of excitement on board the good ship Qingdao now as we close within a thousand nautical miles of Punta del Este city for the first time. Whilst 1,000nm (a bit over 1,100 “land” miles) might sound like a long way still to go, to us as we fly across the ocean swell at 11-12 knots it is a tangible milestone and everyone’s thoughts now are beginning to turn to the end-game of Race 2, as we try to outmanoeuvre Visit Sanya, China and see how long we can keep Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam at bay. We won’t mention race tactics here (Visit Sanya, China have eyes everywhere), but safe to say that last night saw a number of gybes as we try to position ourselves to best advantage.
A bit of back of the post-stamp maths tells us that if we can maintain 8 knots VMG (“Velocity Made Good”, speed towards our destination) for 1,000nm then it’ll take us about 125 hours before we get back to dry land and a nice cold beer. 125 hours is slightly over five days, which would be bringing us (and hopefully both Visit Sanya, China and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam a little while later) into Punta del Este city at the front-end of the arrival window.
Even more exciting than a chance at the podium, an ETA of a week or less also means the end of snack rationing (an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but one biscuit every two days isn’t quite enough for this author).
However, even at 11-12 knots boat speed, 8 knots of VMG will be hard to maintain as the wind is currently running straight for Punta del Este city, forcing us to gybe in at 35-45 degrees off the rhumb line. The wind won’t stay steady for the next five days either with both patches of stronger and lighter winds expected, both of which could potentially slow us down. If the last week has been characterised by persistence as we sat on the same tack 99% of the time, the final week of the race is expected to be a hard slog with gybes, sail changes, tacks and more.
On the plus side, it will be good to have something to keep us busy as our thoughts inevitably become dominated by reaching the shore and catching up with our family and friends – hopefully over a beer or three!
As always, love to all our supporters and we look forward to being back in contact with you all again soon :)