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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 not to use the motor at all on this crossing as a penalty of around 1.5 times the hours motored would be added to our elapsed time. So if they motored for say, 30 hours, then they would get 45 hours added to their time which works out to be 270 miles at 6 knots - we were in with a chance for the divisional win even though we would finish fourth!

So we are still racing: hand steering, trimming the kite, picking the shifts (also with two fishing lines out the back and enjoying a nice Rioja red) hoping reduce the deficit as best we can. And we are enjoying being out at sea away from civilisation, chatting about life, reading books and listening to music and podcasts.

Having two languages on board is a bit of a challenge, especially when you’re trying to gybe a kite at 20 knots in the dark. However Cathy & Hugo are eagerly learning new words in French and can have a broken conversation with Jean-Louis, who understands more than he lets on.

We’ve had only minor breakages, but the most concerning was the toilet seat hinge resulting in an uncertain footing when doing one’s business. I spent at least 4 hours crafting a repair by fibreglassing individual strands around the broken area - a work of art which promptly snapped when her ladyship used the toilet next. Back to the drawing board and 20 minutes later the string solution was soundly working for everybody’s comfort.

Let’s hope tomorrow’s position reports are favourable.

Doug with Cathy, Hugo & Jean-Louis

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