We have approximately 1,000 miles to the finish and the A4 sail is up on Starboard tack. After four days of grey skies and breeze up above 25 knots, we’re finally seeing a little change of weather with the skies slightly clearing. However, the water is still choppy and cold with the temperature around 65 degrees. I just overheard Giles at the helm telling Matt we are averaging ten knots over the ground.
Overall, spirits are good onboard, as we wait optimistically for each tracker update. Our three-way battle with Carina and Scarlet Oyster is still pretty tight and could go to anyone at this point. The next few shifts will be quite important for the old Dorade. From here until the finish, we’re hoping the breeze stays under 25 knots; when we go above 25 knots we’re forced to take down the spinnaker, which in turn slows our speed.
Last night (Tuesday, July 7) was an epic one, and the northern Atlantic Ocean showed Dorade what it is made of, with breeze in the mid 30s making for quickly building swells and a leftover sloppy sea state. It wasn’t until sunrise at 3:00 a.m. EDT that we realized how big the swells had risen, with the faces of waves reaching fifty feet. Watching Dorade’s stern rise with the top of each wave and then being onboard as she flew down it was quite spectacular and definitely got the adrenaline pumping. In our continual quest for top speed, Ben and I think there may have been a new record, but we didn’t get a good reading, as even the mast displays were fully underwater. It sure was thrilling to see Dorade slip down the face of a wave that was far longer than her, but for both her sake and mine, I hope to never have to see her do that again.
Personally, it’s been a good trip and very busy, making the days go by quickly. I am really hoping we can start to catch a break on the choppy weather and get a little luck from the weather gods. The rocking of the boat is relentless right now, and mentally I am just really looking forward to the back-and-forth rolling to stop. She is definitely not easy to sail in big seas, so having the boat trimmed perfectly is a must, otherwise the helmsman may be taking a few extra Advil after their watch.
In terms of Dorade’s performance, I must say that sailing her can teach any sailor a thing or two. We have nicknamed her “Moses” (the boat that parts water) as when Dorade gets going the amount of water she displaces is incredible. I’m starting to look forward to passing The Lizard, but with up to a week away, we will stay focused on the goal. Signing out.
– Zach Mason
July 8 Photogallery