Race 14 - Day 9
I’m afraid after a streak of kitemares it’s a bit of a frustrating day on Visit Sanya, China. Our Code 2 gave up the ghost in a subdued 16 knots of breeze on watch change over this evening. Mr Miller is very good at not airing our dirty laundry in these blogs too much, but I’m less subtle so here’s some content that everyone hates to love. I expect all the sympathetic grimaces to come out full whack please.
Our Code 2 was destroyed by my hand in the previous race; a bad wrap followed by some unhealthy twanging of the rig forced me to take a knife to the head in order to get it out the water. Our crew worked ferociously in the stopover and almost constantly on this race trying to get her back into flying condition. They were successful and we managed about 10 hours flying her! However, ultimately we were unable to replace the bolt rope and our make do and mend of splicing it back together just wasn’t quite strong enough, culminating in it splitting in spectacular fashion this evening. I’m so sorry to our sail makers - Su, Baz, Trish and their accomplices - who worked tirelessly and did their absolute best, but apparently Mary and knife versus spinnaker is no match. (Mysteriously my leatherman has since gone missing, although the crew are claiming ignorance).
Unfortunately for us that is not where it ends. Our Code 3, which gave us such spectacular speeds when we first came into the Gulf Stream, is also in the sail locker graveyard. Wear, UV damage and an existing Harry Potter shaped repair meant that it went bang in the night down its old mend. Sailmakers and willing crew put aside the Code 2 they were working on to assess the damage - repairable, but not one they could do on the boat which would hold.
Not an ideal scenario and one that we will suffer from speed-wise, but optimistically we’re hoping that after these 24 hours of lighter winds then our good ol’ Yankee 1 will do us proud when the breeze kicks back in.
You can’t fault this crew for trying, and in better news we have been smashing speed records up to now. Sailmaker/statistician Su, although glum, did perk up as she was telling us we did 311 miles yesterday, 300 of which were in the right direction which is a record for this boat on this race edition!
We have been hooning along, and we will hoon again I am sure.
Keep on keeping on.
Jai Yo Sanya,
Mary, Mike and our tenacious crew
The last 48 hours have been a proper roller coaster for us here on Visit Sanya, China. We have been absolutely flying along, and every lunchtime it is announced that we have smashed another 24-hour mileage record, even beating those distances set in the roaring conditions of the southern Ocean and the North Pacific. An incredible achievement, made all the more special by doing it in shorts and T-shirts. Who said that sailing had to be cold and miserable?
Then we receive the six-hourly position update of all the other yachts, and see that they have seen our incredible performance and raised it by a knot. Hats off to the guys at the front, who continue to up their game and keep extending their lead. Notwithstanding the four aces in our hand (Harmon’s enormous 4th July pancakes for breakfast, Barry, Su, Trish and their incredible sail repair teams that have worked wonders in New York and since to patch up our battered sail wardrobe, Liz’s unexpected whoops of joy at another huge surf, and of course, Mary’s huge smile) they seem to have found a fifth and are creeping away from us. Nevertheless, there is an excellent window of opportunity for us as they focus on their dash to the scoring gate. The extra miles they will sail might open the door for us to sail a more direct route to the finish.
And in the meantime, we are just loving being out in the middle of nowhere. With more than 500 miles to land in any direction, our world does shrink to the little eight mile disk that is our horizon, and the dolphins, storm petrels and crew mates that inhabit it. As thoughts turn to the end of our adventure – hold on, we’ve still got lots of racing still to do! - we are appreciating more the joys of the ocean and how lucky we are to be out here.
Till next time
Jai Yo Sanya
Mike, Mary and our ‘continuing to up their game’ crew