Legs in the air
A low-pressure system, a weather system, is passing over us and has “gifted” us with a day of gusts up to 44 knots (about 80 km/h) and rough seas. We’ve been beating upwind for days, with wind and waves against us. In short: The boat jumps and slams into the waves abruptly and loudly. Moving around… you always have to hold on, otherwise… legs in the air. Using the bathroom… you end up soaked from the waves sweeping across the deck. Drinking… you have to time it with the waves, otherwise, everything spills on you. Eating… sometimes you manage to get the spoon in your mouth, but it’s not a given. Sleeping… there are moments when the bunk disappears from under your body. The boat has dropped down a wave, and you shortly after. I now have a stiff neck from all the jolts we’ve been taking. We’re outside our comfort zone, but after all, this is part of the game, and it’s even fun like this. Masa and I laugh at each other between one curse and another for a particularly hard knock.
The race began with many “firsts.” We add more: First time sailing with gusts over 40 knots. First time with seas over 5 meters in height. But above all, the first time having to think about slowing down the boat, instead of seeking speed. Yes… when the sea becomes too rough, you can no longer aim for performance, but you have to think about the boat and yourself. The boat can’t withstand the constant pounding on the waves, and we, tossed by the bigger waves, even less so. Therefore, we must find the right compromise. The target speed today was 8 knots upwind, no more, no less.
Head to head.
This race is incredible… Only 5 boats, but after 1000 miles since the start (about 2000 km), we were still crossing paths within sight. Then the weather split the fleet in two. Those who were a few miles behind on one side of the ridge (a windless area to cross), and we two leading boats on the other, creating a gap between the two groups. Despite this, after 5000 miles, the leading boat and us are still glued together, battling it out within sight, while the group behind, at the moment, is fighting for three spots on the podium. And with this weather situation, the group may come back together…