Day 7 of Leg 1, Sept 25th, 2015:
In the night we left Portugal behind us and are now heading straight to the Canary Islands.
It is interesting for me to read the logbook as I wrote quite a bit. In my memory all those events were spanning several days but looking at this it seems like a lot happened this one day.
I still remember the night because I had gone below deck for some short naps and when I returned back on deck at 11pm it was so warm that I had to lose my foulies: Finally proper Tradewind sailing!
Later I would learn how much the wind strength these days varied depending on whether you were further west or east. This time, the further west one was, the more stable winds there were. That reminds me that I need to ask some weather guru on why that was the case. Even today, looking at the weather chart I don’t get what was going on that day:
So, a day filled with weather observations but a simple sail choice: Big spinnaker. Not much else happening. Or so I thought…
|WNW 11-14||1-2m||7/8 Cn||1018.8||N37°21.8 / W011°27.2||Groß + Solent + Big Spi||199||n/a|
|WNW 10-12||2.5m||8/8 ?||1018.0||N37°00.0 / W011°32.2||Groß + Solent + Big Spi||189||8.6kn|
|NNW 10-12||1.5m||8/8 Sc||1018.0||N36°36.5 / W011°41.0||Groß + Solent + Big Spi||199||7.1kn|
|N 8||1.5m||8/8 Cn||1019.6(!)||n/a||Groß + Solent + Big Spi||n/a||n/a|
|NNE 10-12||2.5m||8/8 Sc/Cn||1017.6||N35°48.3 / W011°56.0||Groß + Big Spi||203||7.2kn|
|NNE 6-8||2m||8/8 Sc/Cn||1017.7||N35°29.4 / W012°06.4||Groß + Big Spi||199||8.0kn|
|Nw 8-10||1-5m||4/8 ?||1018.3||N35°08.8 / W012°12.3||Groß + Big Spi||134||6.0kn|
24 distance: 176nm
Day 6 of Leg 1, Sept 24th, 2015:
We are sailing off the coast of Portugal, passing Lisboa. The previous day had brought a lot of wind and difficult conditions which made me neglect eating and resting. As a result I have been sleeping a lot last night and the performance of the boat suffers.
As you can see from the logbook entries, it would have been possible to hoist the Code5 at midnight again and generally I am sailing very defensive the entire day.
The Adrena track shows large parts in yellow where I sailed the boat far under its potential. That also showed in the ranking as Victor (599) turns my 14nm lead into a 14nm lead for him over the course of the day.
But nevertheless it is a nice day in stabilizing tradewinds, offering greate sailing conditions.
|N 16-20||2.5m||0/8 clear skies||1017.2||N39°56.5 / W010°03.5||Main(–) + Solent(-)||212||6.5kn|
|N 14||3m||8/8 Sc/Cn||1018.1||N39°18.0 / W010°33.2||Groß(-) + Solent + Med. Spi(-)||200||9.7kn|
|NNE 14||2-3m||7/8 Cn||1018.4||N38°14.2 / W011°00.5||Groß(-) + Solent + Big Spi||198||7.1kn|
|NNE 14||2-3m||8/8 Ns||1018.8||N37°50.2 / W011°16.7||Groß + Solent + Big Spi||196||7.5kn|
24h distance: 177sm
Day 5 of Leg 1, Sept 23rd 2015:
Last night we passed the northwestern tip of spain and are now on the way to the canary islands. There is one final TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) lying west of the portuguese coast which is a forbidden zone for us in the race, other than that there are no other course marks before the finish.
During our weather briefings, our weather router Christian often emphasized how important the northern half of the portuguese coast is as there is a low-wind zone to navigate, as well as a large zone where a wind acceleration can be found.
This is especially true in a situation like ours with a well established acores high to our west whose southerly winds are being accelerated off the coast of the iberian peninsula (see map below. Note: ground pressure are the white isobars!)
This is a bit of weather knowledge that should become very important over the course of the day but unhappily the converse argument (the farther from the coast, the less wind you get) would not come to me while at sea.
You can tell by the little amount of log book entries that I hardly spent time below deck and hardly left the tiller alone.
Looking back today, I should not have gybed back towards the coast after taking down the Code5. This would have lead me away from the coast and reduced the wind, which would have allowed me to hoist the spinnaker again.
Instead I gybed again at 9pm, again 15 miles closer to the shore so it would take me more hours until I would eventually hoist a spinnaker again in the morning. Unhappily I was so tired that I kind of lost my racing mode which cost me a lot of miles.
Dimitri told me that some 20 miles further offshore the winds were little enough to keep the medium kite up at all times.
|N 10kt||1m||8/8 Sc||1021.0||N42°45.5 / W009°49.5||Main + Big Spi||209||8.8kt|
|NNW 15 (22)kn||3.5m||1/8 Cr/Ns||1019.3||N41°29.0 / W009°36.4||Groß(–) + Code5||164||8.5kn|
|NW 23 (34)kn||4m||4/8 Cn||1018.0||N40°28.9 / W009°58.9||Groß(–) + Solent(-)||154||8.1kn|
24h distance: 186sm
Day 4 of Leg 1, Sept 22nd 2015:
We are about to leave the Bay of Biscay and are heading towards the north-western tip of the Iberian Peninsula, the Cap Finisterre.
I remember this day vividly because I don’t think I ever did as many sail changes in one day as on this one.
From a racing perspective the day was interesting because after a day without seeing competitors, the closer we came to land now, the more competitors became visible.
While the coast looked really interesting and I told myself back then that I would come back one day to discover it with more time, I am happy that I was not forced to sail into port like some of my competitors who had to do repairs or eventually retire from the race.
Now, while reading the log book again I notice that at 4am I note that a cold front hit us and the wind and pressure both indicate that. But I had always thought the second front had hit us the day before… Oh well, maybe it was three cold fronts in the end or I just misread the weather, who knows.
In any case, this and the following day should become the trickiest in the first leg as the spanish and portugese coast seemed to want to do their bad reputation for strong winds and high seas justice.
|NW 15kn||2m||7/8 Sc||1016.6||N44°52.0 / W007°57.8||Groß + Solent||225||5.6kn|
|W 17-20kn||2m||8/8 ?||1016.1||N44°35.4 / W008°15.1||Groß(-) + Solent||206||6.6kn|
|NW 22kn||2.5m||7/8 ?||1016.3||N44°38.7 / W008°29.3||Groß(-) + Solent||225||6.7kn|
Comments from the log book:
1400: just passed a mini with only reefed main and reefed Solent sailing dead east towards the coast. Nobody on deck. Tried calling on vhf but no reply. Could not read sail number due to the sun, looked like a proto.
1750: no log book entries since this morning, really: too much to do! The night was rough – had to hand-steer pretty much all the time or sail with too little sails as the gusts were so brutal. Add to that an impressive 3m swell rolling in from the west.
Started shaking out reefs after 8 am, then with the shifting wind was able to hoist the Code5, then wind shifted back: Main + Solent. Gusts and showers required some reefs, then almost no wind. Then Code0+ full Main, then Rainstorm and 30 knots: 2 reefs in the main, 1 in the solent. After 10 minutes, back to original wind, Code0 and Main, 40 minutes later the whole ordeal again, and then again. Now since about 5pm: full main and big spi and we seem to have too little sails up, the waves are rough.
Just heard Nikki and Andy on the radio but the only word I understood was “Code0”.
|N 5kn||3m||7/8 ?||1019.4||N43°19.2 / W009°28.6||Groß + Big Spi||218||5.7kn|
|N 10kn||2m||8/8 Sc||1020.4||N43°03.3 / W009°38.5||Groß + Big Spi||206||6.4kn|
Distance sailed in last 24h: 153sm