From The Deck Of Prospector 09 July 0000z
Just a quick note before heading to bed. We had a relatively uneventful
day. That was exactly what we needed after Wednesday’s excitement.
We spent most of the day sailing towards the Lizard at 12-15 knots boat
speed in 20-25 knot winds at 235-250 true wind direction. We had the
Jib Top, Genoa Staysail and full Main up at a 140-150 true wind angle.
At about 1800Z the wind dropped below 20 knots and we began to talk
about how to add more horsepower. It would have been and ideal
time for the A5 we blew up 2 days ago.
We decided to give our fractional code zero (FRO) a try. Scotty and
Henry had repaired the sail which had parted from its furler on July 1.
We thought it would be good to test the repair and see if the FRO
would give the sail plan more grunt in these conditions. That plan
worked beautifully. The repair held and we picked up a couple of knots
of speed with greater stability through the water.
We decided to leave that combination up overnight. We could roll up
the FRO easier than a spinnaker if we needed to in squalls, which we
were still running into. We have grown to like being a bit more
conservative at night given some of the craziness we have experienced
when we tried to be too aggressive.
That plan changed quickly though as the wind continued to drop to the
mid teens with the forecast calling for the wind to continue to fall in to
a range of 9-12 knots. Concluding that we couldn’t get in to too much
trouble in those conditions and needing more power we took down the
FRO and put up the A2. The A2 is our biggest down wind sail and our
routing solutions are calling for it a lot over the final stages of the race.
Quinn calls the A2 the Super Model, as it is tall, beautiful and bound to
crush you when things go wrong.
We have spent all day on starboard tack on the inside of most of our
competition. For tactical and routing reasons, there is light wind
straight ahead of us and stronger wind to the north, we have been
looking for an opportunity to gybe on to port. We got our chance after
dinner when Snow Lion crossed behind us and the wind shifted. We
gybed and headed to the north, protecting ourselves against Snow Lion
and Maximizer to our left and heading towards the stronger wind. We
took the A2 down a short while ago while we dodged a squall. In
retrospect we probably could have left it up but can’t afford blowing up
another spinnaker with two others already done for this race.
After gaining ground steadily on Snow Lion and Maximizer for most of
the day we have given a little back of late. We are currently in 3d place
in our class, down from 7th and 7th in our fleet, having gotten as high as
5th. We are hard at work trying to turn things around.
A couple of critter sightings during the day. A leather back turtle and
sperm whale crossed our path. Last night we struck some sea creature
with our rudder. We inspected the rudder through the inspection port
this morning. It is OK, but missing some paint. We hope the sea
creature, Quinn thinks it was a shark sleeping near the surface in
current to keep water flowing over its gills, Paul thinks it was a turtle, is
It is getting colder as we reach the North Atlantic, the air temperature
is 58 degrees and the water temperature is 62 degrees. We have 989
miles to go to the Lizard. We should enjoy better weather and new