Race 14 - Day 11
On the plus side, we haven’t damaged any more spinnakers since our last blog! On the not so plus side we have been sailing in that goldilocks wind – too strong to allow us to fly our last remaining spinnaker, the lightweight Code 1, but not too strong to force the rest of the fleet to stop flying theirs – which has left us falling further behind the leaders, and allowed the chasing boats to catch up alarmingly.
But our Yankee 1 is holding up well, and we are in a lovely narrow band of favourable Gulf Stream current, so we continue to make extraordinary progress towards the finish. Almost hooning!
Our shorts and t-shirts have now been replaced by foulies on deck, and big snuggly sleeping bags are being dug out for the watches below. The sky is now dull grey, featureless and rather overcast. Clearly we must be approaching the UK! Except that I hear that the UK is enjoying an amazing sunny spell. We have passed the latitude of Gosport and our watches are only two hours behind London. We are getting close.
Wildlife is becoming much more plentiful as we get north. The three Bermudian shearwaters, with their distinctive white tail feathers, have left us, to be replaced by some Manx shearwaters which are more common in these parts. There are dolphins aplenty, and we narrowly (genuinely narrowly, it surfaced under the bowsprit and only a sharp left turn allowed it to pass about ten feet from our starboard side) missed a friendly humpback whale. The latin name for the Manx shearwater (according to my trusty field guide) is puffinus puffinus puffinus, which when revealed to the crew had everyone searching the horizon for a genuine puffin (latin name, ironically, fratercula arctica) Hopefully we will catch a glimpse in a few days as we pass close to their breeding grounds on Rockall and St Kilda on our way to the finish.
We should be starting the Ocean Sprint in the next 12 hours or so, so it’s everyone lean forward as we push for some race points.
Jai Yo Sanya
Mike, Mary and our French toast eating (I had to get food in here somewhere) crew