Update Day (18?): Foot off the gas
First off a "hello" to the students of L.V.Rogers Secondary in Nelson, BC, who we understand have been tracking us since Las Palmas - hope you're enjoying the show!
We write day 18 with a question mark as a joke, but in reality none of us have much of a concept of time these days as the hours and days roll together in one long haze of waves, stars, and clouds. Distance now seems a more accurate measure of things and it looks like we had a decent run yesterday of around 160 miles, which would have been a fantastic 180 miles if we hadn't been forced to run north with that large squall we told you about yesterday (the one where we blew up the tweaker).
The near misses of yesterday has got the whole crew in a mindset where we're taking our foot off the gas pedal a bit and running the boat in more of a conservative setup - we've sacrificed maybe 0.5-1.0 knots of boatspeed, but still seem to be going well (average 6.5-7.0knots) and holding off competitors. The weather is certainly cooperating...now that we're in the steady trade winds the direction and strength has remained constant except for the occasional squall after sunset. In truth, the star of the day was our wonderful autopilot, which we barely touched and has held us on a direct course to St. Lucia all day.
Not much else to report here. As we write this we have 265 miles left to go. The weather on board is now quite hot and humid - with only a few square meters of shade out of the sun during the day and a sauna of a boat belowdecks it's been difficult to get comfortable and difficult to get some sleep. Apart from reading, one of the main pastimes is watching Rigs and Adrian rig up new and elaborate fishing lures to entice toothy predators (no bites today). The main difference from a few days ago is the presence of other boats...we saw none for almost ten days in the middle of our trip, but are now seeing 1-4 a day. We spent a good part of today in the company of the very cool 50+ foot catamaran named "Hugo", also from the ARC race.
That's all for today, until tomorrow
The crew of Chance Encounter
Rob, Adrian, Rigs, and Doug