Good morning all,
The wind has been increasing slowly over the last 48 hours, sometimes a bit more in a squall then temporarily abating, but now is the passage of the weather front. Current wind speeds are 35 knots gusting into the 40s. Current sail plan is Yankee 3, Staysail and three reefs in the Mainsail. For more about sail selection please read Graham Hill's crew blog that describes this whole subject very well. The sail-plan is just about right in the gusts but can feel like not quite enough in-between them, this is a long race and if over-canvassed in the gusts there is a lot of load on the steering system, so best to err on the side of caution for now.
First thing yesterday morning when the wind started to increase above 30 knots consistently the whole crew mucked in to change the Yankee 2 to the Yankee 3. I was at the back of the cockpit and it was great to watch everyone jump in and grab a role to get the job done. As helming has gotten more difficult we reduced the Mainsail to reef 3.
Today was our halfway party as the miles completed and miles to go both read 1821, we celebrated with a homemade beef stew according to Mary Frawley's secret recipe - great comfort food in these wet and cold conditions. Both watches have been working hard to keep the boat going fast in a straight line towards Cape Town, so here is hoping for more nice sailing conditions and not too many surprises when the front finally clears. Conall