It has been slow going out here on the race course as the wind and current gods have been fickle and have tested the patience and mettle of the Bermuda race sailors this year. Since my last report after the start, we have sailed a bit over 300 miles in mild, sunny conditions. Not too much need to bundle up at night with the balmy temps, which is nice. Yesterday morning we brought out our torn Code Zero jib and went to work on repairing it on the foredeck. Two hours and a lot of sticky-back later, we flaked the sail on deck and pronounced it ready for limited use. When we began the repair I gave it maybe a 10% chance for success, but by the time we finished a lot of hand stitching to reinforce the glued-on patches, my percentage had moved up to 60%. Later in the day we put the sail up in 6-7 knots of breeze and it was not particularly pretty, but it held together.
Life on board has settled into the routine of watches, eating, sleeping, navigating and kibitzing. Fried chicken for dinner on Friday night and a delicious pasta and veggy casserole that hit the spot last night. We had a bit of a puzzle when all the electronics went off and hunted for burnt fuses and broken wires until we discovered someone had accidentally turned the house battery switch off... phew. Sailing along slowly under more sunny skies and calm seas... life could be worse.
Tactically, we elected to go just a bit to the west of the rhumb line, trying to avoid adverse current but not trying to get all the way to a warm eddy north of the gulf stream that some of the boats were going after. It seemed like too far a distance to sail in pursuit of 2-4 knots of favorable current, but it did allow some boats to get west to set up their entry in to eastward-sweeping gulf stream. We entered the stream last night just a little to the east of rhumb line and at first saw 4 knots of current flowing east as we battled squalls and calms. We managed to avoid any damage in the squalls but had really squirrelly winds from all directions and periods of calm caused by the cloud formations and hot water. We are now about two-thirds of the way through and are moving fairly slowly in a southeast direction, hoping that the southwest wind shifts into the southeast to allow us to tack back towards Bermuda once we are south of the stream. Unfortunately the weather files are now not showing a shift into the southeast, which will favor the boats further west as we approach Bermuda. So, we are looking to tack on to port and get west when the breeze shifts from the southwest into the south- hopefully riding a favorable current in a warm eddy just south of the stream- and then just sail the most favored tack down to Bermuda over the last 300 miles. It ain"檛 perfect, but it ain"檛 over either.
So, that is the report for today- this day of Sunday June 22, 2008- reporting live from the North Atlantic- Good day and good luck.
Joe from Gryphon Solo