Passepartout - Five days to go rolling on downwind
We are all anticipating arriving in St Lucia in five and bit days after sixteen days of sailing.Life onboard is good: we have been flying along under spinnaker, catching our rivals, and enjoying each other’s company.But after two weeks on board we are looking for a proper shower, nice bed and a beer or two.Not that we suffering too much as there’s still plenty of food cooked by master chef Hugo and wine for our sundowner each night.We’ve managed to catch a few Mahi Mahi which have been delicious, but hoping for a tuna for sashimi at some stage.We’ve been under spinnaker for the last week, a pleasant change from the prior heavy upwind work and then being becalmed the week before.The spinnaker has been a great asset pushing the boat a knot or two faster than a poled out jib, and more. read more...
Passepartout - The power of positive thinking
What do you do when you are 250 miles behind the leaders in your division, sitting mid fleet - those behind are not in racing mode.Think positively!After our southern detour to avoid a stronger than expected low in the northern route, we fell back behind to our more southerly competitors, then had to cross a windless ridge to get to the southern tradewinds that would take us all the way to St Lucia.At noon we would get the position updates and our deficit grew each day: 40, 80, 110, 180, then 250 miles!Enough to make a navigator cry!However we knew that the daily distances that our competitors were travelling were not in keeping with the wind forecasts, and that they must be motoring, as allowed under the ARC Cruising division rules.Here’s where the tricky bit comes in: we have decided. read more...
Passepartout - Dry times and a dud dunny!
We are through the pain and suffering (exaggeration) of days of 30 to 37 knot headwinds after our retrospective fruitless detour northwards in our quest to stay in wind and avoid becalment at all cost. What we didn’t count on was the development of a belatedly predicted second low. Since then, a third low has materialised to our north confirming our decision to go south as being the right one as we pray to the bust of Ganesh above the cockpit! So, we have made miles south - all to windward - in a new attempt to cross a rigging barrier of light air at its narrowest point. This weather routing can do your head in.Crystal gazing....We’re hoping to pop out of this light air ridge and poke our nose into fresh trade winds where we can hoist the spinnaker and start making fast downwind miles.We. read more...
Passepartout - Elation and despair on Passepartout
We are now into our sixth day of the ARC crossing and the initial feeling of elation has been replaced by despair as we head almost due south to escape the low that has blocked our path westwards on our chosen northerly route. Elation because we had a great first three days under spinnaker, reacher and two sail reaching to gain a good lead over our competitors.Despair because we will now be following them as they had chosen a more cautious southerly path.Engla and Duale, our closest competitors in division H, are now about 40 miles ahead when they were the same behind on day 3, although we can’t discount the use of their motors during the lighter winds on days 3 & 4. To get to this position we have just been through an unpleasant 24 hours of strong and gale force winds trying to. read more...
Passepartout - No motoring for bilingual Passepartout
Despite being in cruising division H the temperaments on board Passepartout are in full-on racing mode. No motoring penalties for us as we tweak and sail change 24/7; religiously download weather GRIB files; debate wind arrows and best course scenarios; eagerly plot competitor positions and; stalk SSB scheds to relish in other’s tales of windless woes.The origin of our race mode temperament comes from our youthful days as shorthanded ocean racing multihull sailors which laid a solid foundation for ‘no pain no gain’.As of yesterday, before last night’s despairing light airs, we calculated that we were coming first in Division H and had also knocked-off the boats in divisions G, E and F.On occasions some rituals remind us we are ion the edge of “cruising” mode as we trawl for fish, knit,. read more...