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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 sturdy than the old thin gennaker that has become a specialist light airs reaching sail. Chafe on the sheets and halyard has been carefully managed after the sheet parted on the second day it was up. Cathy made up some strops with ring leads to reduce the wear at the end of the pole and they are holding up well on their second iteration.

We have been reeling our rivals and projected to finish second to fifth in our division depending how the winds fare. At present the Hallberg-Rossy 37 Thyra is leading followed by Engla, a Swan 42, with three more others ahead. Thyra has had an injury aboard which may slow them down - we have offered to assist them with a request for antibiotics, but being 230 miles ahead we are not best placed to assist. The final placings will be unknown until motoring hours are determined, and whilst we are sure most have used their motors, we have to assume they haven’t.

Meanwhile we carry on racing keeping the spinnaker up for as long as we can to gain the half to one knot advantage that it gives over our rivals. One of the forecasts is predicting 25 knots ENE in a few days and we may have to cautiously pull it down - or maybe not!

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