So now we have finished racing and are heading, for the first time in a long time, directly along our route to Panama. We managed to sail for a good part of the day, with plenty of wind provided by large squall cells proceeding towards us, directly along our route from Panama. Approaching these cells with caution, we would get headed as the wind backs in front of the ominous looking clouds, tack until we get headed in the other direction and then tack back, thereby circumventing the menacing beasts and avoiding the worst of the squally winds and, mostly, the rain.

This did not always go completely according to plan and the wet lockers and accommodation down below are now strewn with various dripping garments, hopefully drying before we next have to go on watch! The turbulent weather seems to have dispersed now. Things have calmed down again considerably and, when not involved in our new sport of cloud dodging, we may now use the engine to keep our average speed up, making sure we arrive in Panama in time for the Panama Canal transit.

This brings with it a new regime on board, as we have several hundred miles still to go, with a finite amount of fuel to do it. As well as keeping an eye on wind strength and direction, sail plan, ocean currents and bearing to waypoints, as is usually the case, I am now also constantly monitoring fuel consumption, engine temperature, oil pressure, average speeds and arrival window timings.

There is a contingency plan in place, should the winds stay light and we have to motor beyond our capacity to feed diesel to the engine; we could be calling in to Costa Rica briefly to refuel, but we are hoping this will not be necessary and we will be sailing as much as possible. As I write, we have an ETA in Panama and I can tell you this much for nothing; we are sure looking forward to that first, ice cold beer!

All is well on Dare To Lead...

Nigel, Al and crew.

Until Race Start : The Atlantic Homecoming Leg