Greetings friends from South of the Equator-
This beautiful sunny November day finds us boiling along at about 11 knots in the South East Trade Winds that we have been in for almost two days since we exited the Doldrums. We are close reaching, which is a fast point of sail, but causes the boat to pound a bit into the seas and for us to be heeled over to 20 or 30 degrees heel angle, which makes doing just about anything a challenge! It is also steamy hot - with a brilliant sun directly overhead making on-deck work scorching but making the cabin like an oven. I am reminded of Alec Baldwin on "Saturday Night Live" playing a jewish baker whose specialty was making "schweaty balls" in a hot kitchen... matzah balls of course... but you get the drift. It's easy to take for granted how climate-controlled our lives on land are.
Anyway, we are 545 miles from the finish line in Salvadore, with the GPS telling us we will arrive in about 50 hours, or Thursday night. So while most of you (Americans anyway) are watching football and eating turkey, Josh and I should be sliding past the light off the breakwater at the entrance to Salvadore harbor sometime Thursday evening or Friday morning. We are currently 256 miles in front of Artforms and 274 miles in front of Vedette, so our lead is looking pretty secure unless the wind shuts off or we suffer a major breakdown. We have had damage to two of our sails - the gennaker and the solent - both of which required fairly extensive repairs which cost us a fair bit of time. The repairs seem to be holding so we will keep our fingers crossed. The battle between Vedette and Artforms is heating up as only 24 miles separates the boats and their boatspeeds have been similar over the last 24 hours. Stay tuned to the finish!
So, with the boat moving along well and little sail change activity required as the wind and course are constant, Josh and I are left to study the weather, the position reports, eat continuously, read, and look longingly at the GPS for the miles to click off. We have sailed more than 4,200 miles over the last 17 days and most of it was pretty hard work so we are not used to laying around watching the hands move on the clock. I think these last 500 miles may pass the slowest. We just have to keep the hammer down and play error-free ball until the fat lady sings.
Cheers from Joe and Josh - Open Class 50 - Gryphon Solo