Logbook Sept 23rd 2015

Tracker 23.09.2015
Following my Mini Transat participation in 2015 I am now publishing the logbook entries of each day – exactly one year after they were written down.

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.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
N 10kt 1m 8/8 Sc 1021.0 N42°45.5 / W009°49.5 Main + Big Spi 209 8.8kt

Comments from the logbook:
0430: Wind is increasing heavily in short period of time, steering by hand. A massive swell is building.
0600: Cannot reach neither any support boat nor any competitor to relay my position.
0700: Dropped the bit kite and hoisted the medium spi.
1000: Major wipeout with the medium spi, the tackline clutch gives way and multiple meters rush out. Unhappily I was just preparing the drop and held the tackline in my hand, which causes my hand to be caught in a sling against the clutch. Takes me two minutes to sort out without having to cut the line. Dropping the sail then and hoisting the Code5.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NNW 15 (22)kn 3.5m 1/8 Cr/Ns 1019.3 N41°29.0 / W009°36.4 Groß(–) + Code5 164 8.5kn

Comments from the logbook:
1200: started the recording of the weather forecast (good signal), need to go back on deck.
1830: Dropped the Code5. Constantly more than 30kt of wind. I’m tired and feel like the boat is going to fall apart. All(!!!) waves are breaking, we are surfing down the back of the waves with 14-18kt and then dive into the front of the next one. Wave crests are steep and very confuse, the pilot is not coping. Just did a nosedive up to the mast – bowsprit, foredeck, everything under water. Didn’t think the boat would be able to handle that abuse. Gybing is hard work, am worried about the mast.
Plenty of cargos around, they seem like steel cities and do not seem to be bothered at all by the waves.
Spoke multiple times with Jaanus (787) over VHF, he has more than 30kt too, could not understand his position.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NW 23 (34)kn 4m 4/8 Cn 1018.0 N40°28.9 / W009°58.9 Groß(–) + Solent(-) 154 8.1kn

Comments from the logbook:
Running downwind with just reefed main and solent now, still doing 8-9 knots, am absolutely shot. Will try to get some sleep, let’s hope the night doesn’t get worse.

24h distance: 186sm

This post is also available in: German