Currently we have a little over six hundred miles left to complete the Trans Pac race. The sched’s are due in a couple of hours so we are hopping that we have managed to hold on to our first in class and managed to put a bit more time between team sleeper and ourselves. The last day or two has seen some shifty winds around squalls and cloud masses so trying to always stay on the best gybe has been the main task. Sometimes we will gybe only to have to gybe back again as soon as we have settled down again which can be a little annoying but is just a part of racing.
We’ve had a few moments where Dorade has got into her famous death roll which happens around 23kts of wind. It’s pretty terrifying bellow deck and even on deck sometimes, our helming has improved a lot and its just part of sailing this long narrow boat with lots of canvas up.
Yesterday evening I was at the mizzen just after a gybe and was setting the mizzen spinnaker as I heard an unusual sound from the goose neck as the sail filled. A quick look and I could see the fitting to the mast had torqued a little from the mast. We dropped the sail quickly for a better look and noticed the screws had worked a bit loose, unfortunately some very small cracks in the mast running vertically were apparent round the screw holes. The screws tightened up again nicely and we had planned for such an event and threw some metal bands tightly around the mast crack so hopefully it should not travel further for now. The sail was back up after 20 minutes and we are keeping a good eye on it.
The only other excitement was a small tear in the A2 which was quickly dropped and repaired before it got worse. Currently the A4 is up which is pretty bullet proof and a safer option at night, full main, mizzen and mizzen kite are up as always. John managed to get the old girl up to 14.4kts last night which may be a new record and we have been touching 12 and 13 regularly the last few hours.
The forecast looks good for the rest of the race and we expect the wind to shift forward into the east in the next few hours which will give us a fast point of sail into the Finnish. Hopefully the wind has eased behind us and the rest of the fleet that started behind us is slowing down. Already we are looking forward to cold beers, steak dinners and getting our feet onto a surface that isn’t moving like a bucking bronco.
There’s still lots to play for out here and the race is very much on right now. Trying not to make any mistakes, sail extra miles and keep pushing hard is going to be key over the next few days. Team Dorade is sending it hard and loving it out here. Fingers crossed we will be drinking Mai Thais on Saturday morning.