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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We are now into our sixth day of the ARC crossing and the initial feeling of elation has been replaced by despair as we head almost due south to escape the low that has blocked our path westwards on our chosen northerly route.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 punch upwind through the blocking low, in a boat that was not really designed for this sort of thing. For the sake of the boat and crew, we have chosen to use the low’s westerly headwinds to take us down to the tradewind belt further south. Enough of howling winds and biting rain from squall after squall, most recording winds above 30 knots and one topping at 37 knots as we struggled under reefed staysail and double reefed main.

So we start a new race, albeit giving the others a head start, and look forward to finding some downwind conditions where Passepartout excels so we can catch up. Meanwhile we can dry ourselves and the boat out and repair some of the small breakages caused by the rough conditions.

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