We are still out here plugging away with less than 200 miles now to go to the barn. We have been hard on the wind in about 15 knots of wind for some time now- at times laying the mark on starboard tack and other times not, depending on the 20 degree oscillations in the wind direction. We should be getting some favorable current from a cold eddy but instead we seem to be getting unfavorable current of about a knot, which has been typical of what we have experienced most of the race from a "reality vs. forecast" perspective. Life on board is good with no problems with the boat, although life bouncing through the seas at a 25-degree heel angle requires monkey-like movements to swing from hand hold to hand hold to maintain balance.
Our crew has been great, with four very competent sailors each pulling their weight and then some. Dobbs Davis (from Seahorse Magazine) is an intellectual sailor and excellent helmsman, consistently coaxing performance numbers at or above our targets. Tristan Mouligne comes from a sailing family and is a natural on the boat, with a high comfort level with short-handed sailing due to his numerous Bermuda 1-2's. Ben Poucher runs the Club Swan 42 "Bandit" and is a good all-around sailor and handyman with multiple skill sets. However, his most valuable contribution has been the outstanding procession of fine music pouring from his Ipod, where Ben's tastes run the gamet from Tom Petty to Bruce Springsteen, Talking Heads, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead and the hits just keep on coming. The excellent tunes definitely improves the atmosphere on board. Finally, boat manager Hugh Piggin is our "go to" guy as he knows the boat inside and out and can fix most anything while sailing the hell out of the boat.
For me, having so many people on board and also having to drive all the time instead of letting the auto pilot drive is bit abnormal. However, I am enjoying the company and the different perspectives each crew member brings to the boat and the voyage, and these guys are all pros. We are looking forward to an arrival in Bermuda sometime tomorrow and to tieing up to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and having a few Dark and Stormies. My family (wife Kim, son Griffin (10), son Emmett 4, and daughter Sophie, 18 months, as well as my mother Katrina) will be meeting me in Bermuda tomorrow and staying through Sunday, which should be big fun.
Tactically, the last part of the race has become a bit of a drag race and a dead beat, with the wind fairly consistently out of the SSW at 12 - 18 knots. We are focused on boat speed and deciding when we might take hitch over to the west, but for now just keepin' on truckin'.