I'm sitting here at 3am debating the whys and wheres of wind, yachts and tactics.
It’s an interesting 24hrs of racing before we get confidently into the trade winds south of Portimão.
What a great stopover that was. There was very little down time with the works and planning needing to be done on board, but with a superb team they all handled the stopover maintenance! I managed to get a little time here and there. I was able to make the most of the great food and facilities at Portimão, but my favourite part was the beach. Beautiful sandy beaches and the water was perfect for a cool off at the end of long hot days.
Back in the nav station, it's humid and hot ( and we've not even got to the hot -we are still at 35 degrees north!) I listen as Rhiannon (AQP) plugs in the next peel. Here we change from one spinnaker to the next. I contemplate for a brief second at how far she has come over the past few months in many ways. She's great with people and speaks with confidence. She's nice but not airy. It's fair to say I'm very lucky to have such a First Mate and the boat wouldn't sail half as well without her.
It was a great start along the beachfront yesterday. We started out steady leaving the triangular course in third place. The results look a bit irregular at this point but it doesn't know how to measure where the wind is so at this point I expect we are still in the lead pack.
Unfortunately now moving closer to 0600 UTC we find ourselves in a bit of a shut down. This requires patience and focus. It's a hard start to the race that will last another 28 days and particularly that we've always performed better in the slightly stronger breeze.
The crew are great as usual and manoeuvres have been executed well although driving is very tough in the light fickle breeze.
I wanted to bring you into the fold regarding our charity awareness and implore all of the followers to donate to Unicef on our behalf. We have a Qingdao JustGiving page too. I'll post the link on the next skipper blog, please stay tuned and every little helps.
P.S. the next 24 hrs will see yachts get into the stronger trade winds and potentially assert some more definitive bow forward positions, though with the fleet so sporadic in an east /west plain it is tough to say where the advantages lay. Time will tell I guess. It's a huge marathon of a race that will reward consistency, patience and teamwork.
I look forward to chatting gain in 24 when I have a little more to tell you.