Hello land people, I hope you are all well and have fun plans for this next couple of days! If you don't, just go and book. Do something new, don't wait, life is short and you need to make something that makes you happy every day. That's why all of us are here! Can't you see? Yesterday was an ‘Xtreme’ day and night with constant winds of 50knts gusting 60knts regularly and we even saw 65knts.The waves were enormous. We think a couple of them were around the 10m over mean sea level (but if you measure them like a carpenter, I'll say around 15m) and they were very dangerous as there was not enough period between them to make the bottom turn under control and surf the next one. Best description: it was like a super enormous ocean water machine (to my friends: El emir batidora agua marron inentrable).
When you have conditions like that, it's serious, and although you want to go deep on the wind to decrease the apparent wind speed because it's super windy, you can't. This is because when you finish one surf the next wave rounds you up and half of the boat ends up buried in the sea. Also, if you are not careful with your steering you can break it (never good). So, the solution was to go in a broad reach almost reach, 110apparent wind angle and maximum 120 to keep the boat with speed to be able to decide every wave what to do and avoid rounding up. We were doing constants 18knts, hitting the 20knts every other wave and top speed was 24.8 I think with many 22.6 etc.
As soon as the barometer started to fall, I knew it was going to be a long night for me. So got on my drysuit and stay in the helm for hours until the barometer stopped falling. After a couple of hours, I called Nanne, Angus and Stephane to come and helm with me, as it was one of those days you can't make a single mistake on the helm, and you need the top helms. They nailed it and we went through the storm safe and sound. It was incredible to see waves hitting us hard and for moments being completely covered in water without being able to see anyone until the water clears off.
There was limited crew on deck, crew with the short tether and double tether, holding the winches to not get dragged, the cockpit a swimming pool. For some scary, for some fun, for some their first time feeling the furiousness of the sea, showing her sharp teeth saying: “What are you doing here?” Certainly yesterday, the Roaring Forties showed their reputation. It's hard to visualise if you have never been out here. Now, I understand my first RTW Skipper Lance Shepard, when I wanted to hoist a spinnaker all the time and was getting excited about 90knts of wind in the North Pacific Ocean, and he was only looking forward in order to keep us safe; and he did :) So here I am five years later, applying what I've learnt from him. Good seamanship. Thanks mentor! Racing-wise, you all know, we can't shake the third reef so everybody is pulling away painfully report after report. It hurts when the wind decreases and we are just wobbling around, and as the sea state is absolutely horrible. You need to come up a lot on the wind to keep it moving and your VMG becomes horrible. We still have waves around 6m, so it's impossible to even think about making the repair. So, I'm sorry but don't get too excited yet our fellow followers, we haven't been able to put or gear back. I promise that soon I'll be writing a blog telling you how well the repair went (but if you want to help us with a prayer ;) please do).
Today is a special day as it's our Dutch Hulk JP's birthday and he has chosen this venue to celebrate his 43rd. Angus is the entertainer, so I asked him to brush his hair and dress nicely. Hahaha. JP is the nicest, kindest, most easy-going, hardworking man we have (and he is absurdly strong, it's insane). He never complains, never a drama, never a demotivated face, it's truly an inspiration for me and us all. Happy birthday!
I'm the lucky one ;) I’m still very proud of my team, everyone is pushing their limits, being kind with each other, helping the others, they are stepping up constantly. Sometimes I have to be tough and shake them out a bit when things don't fulfil my high standards, but they react fast and keep the good practices going. Being a Skipper is not only being nice all the time, you need to have personality and show your teeth once in a while. The sea, especially the Roaring Forties is not a place to be lazy, thinking you'll get through it easily. It's one of the toughest environments in the world and you need to be the best version of yourself. So, family and friends, you can trust me, I won't let anyone lower their guard and sooner or later we will all be safe and happy drinking beers in Australia. Thanks to all our ex-crew, future crew and family and friends that sent us some love and a big thank you to our friends Josh and Joss from Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam (who are racing very well) that also sent us some love. We are cheering for you now. To all of you, thank you, we will fix this track, hoist spinnakers and get back into racing mode very soon, it's not over until you cross the Finish Line. To those that haven't donated anything to UNICEF, please visit my Justgiving, help us out on this one and let the good karma be with you all.
Nano, Angus and the Punta Riders of the Stormmm, tututunn tuttutunnnnnn