We are now on Day 12 of Leg 3 of the Globe40 RTW race going from the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean to Auckland, New Zealand. The voyage is somewhere around 7,000 miles in distance and will take between 30 and 35 days. The early goal has been to get South into the prevailing Westerly winds and it has taken us quite a while to do that. We endured upwind conditions, then were becalmed for quite a while, and only now are we finally in the Westerlies and flying along at an average boat speed of 12k but frequent surfs in to the high teens and low twenties in winds of 17-40k. Its a pretty wild ride with the boat corkscrewing down the waves as we struggle to find the perfect sail combination that will allow us to go very fast without wiping out (when the boat is over-powered by a wind gust and rounds up with sails flapping and the auto-pilot alarm beeping). We are right on the hairy, naked edge and are working on that fine art of going maximum speed while not breaking the boat, the sails, or ourselves. Whoops- it just happened- the wind gusted from 21k to 26k and the boat rounded up and I ran on deck without my jacket and caught a wave squarely in the face while I scrambled to release the main and kite sheets. All in a day's work I guess.
I am trying to multi-task right now with the engine charging the battery, the watermaker making water and me writing at the nav station… I really should be on deck tending the sheets and the auto-pilot. With one reef in the mainsail, the A5 fractional gennaker and the staysail set under it, we have a lot of canvas up in 25k of wind. The boat does love these conditions though and the extended surfs on the long rolling 20' waves are most excellent. Roger is sleeping at the moment and he will come on in a couple of hours and I will get a rest. We overlap a lot and make all sail changes together as they are quicker, smoother and safer. For food we have finally gone through the last of our avocado supply but we had many great lunches of cut up carrots, tomatoes, onions and then fruit salad of mango, pineapple, apple, and pear. Now it's down to mostly the freeze-dried meals and a lot of sockeye salmon in a pouch from Patagonia Provisions which is really good and also tuna in a pouch. And of course plenty of coffee, tea and cocoa seasoned lightly with Dr. Jamo, who is on constant call for anxiety and hyper-tension relief after (or before) a long watch in heavy wind and sea conditions.
We have been getting plenty of sleep, which is a major difference from my solo voyage where I didn't push the boat as hard but had to be on constant watch, so often operated at about 75% mental capacity. Now we are more often firing on all cylinders and have each other to bounce ideas and strategies off, as well as share maintenance and watch-keeping so I think we sail the boat better. Unfortunately, our fellow competitors have great boats and are great sailors so it is tough to find an advantage and easy to lose a step if you take your foot off the accelerator for a moment.
So that's about the size of it here at 38'40 S X 90'02 W if you want to locate us on your globe and we are headed rapidly to the East towards our "virtual gate" below Eclipse Island, on the South coast of Australia beneath Perth. It is then across the 'Great Australian Bight", through the Bass Straits and up the Tasman Sea to the northern tip of NZ at Cape Reinga and then south to Auckland.
Follow us on the Race Tracker at www.globe40.com or www.gryphonsolo2.com.
All the best-
Joe and Roger on GS2 in the Indian Ocean