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Light wind activities

Light wind activities
7 December 2011

With a lot of the fleet stuck in the big wind hole around Saint Lucia, and the forecast not predicting the winds to fill-in for the next day or two, crews have been honing their light-winds sailing techniques.  To add 'insult to injury', what wind there is is westerly in direction, so boats are beating for the first time in the crossing.

Grateful Red (USA) on tacking an
gles:  "We are now beating at six knots to Grenada (or we could go on the other tact and beat to St Bart) - but we are sailing fast. Following the sailing proverb 'better to go fast to nowhere than slow to somewhere'."  Clearlake II (GBR) are also having problems laying Saint Lucia "Winds gradually died overnight to around 5-6 knots. They’ve also veered round from the E towards W. So now we are heading close to wind in a NW direction; we’re making a good course for Guadaloupe!"

In the wind hole, there is a degree of philosophy regarding arrival times and sailing vs motoring.  The race boats have no choice but to wait it out, or to motor and retire.  Lancelot (GBR) skipper explains the tactics: " We made slow but steady progress throughout the night and well done to all of the crew who kept the boat moving well in the light conditions. In these light winds it is important to do everything smoothly, from movements of the wheel, moving around the boat and trimming sails with the idea being not to disrupt the air flow through the sails and allow the boat to create some of its own apparent wind to keep us moving." Onboard EH01 (GBR): "All credit to the crew who seem to be taking this very well, nary a mention of the iron topsail yet uttered (engine to you) just sleeping, playing backgammon and sunbathing.  Top credit to Bertie who has worked hard to get the boat moving.  
PS: YAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 5kts of wind and sailing the right way at3 kts!"

Thanks to Casamara (GBR) for the pictures of the crew swimming behind the boat.

One of the benefits of closing land is the re-appearance of dolphins - Glass Slipper (USA) reported over 50 dancing around the boat at one time, and Kantara (GBR) another 20. Island Wanderer (GBR) encountered whales: "Not content with that, the afternoon presented one of the closest whale watching activities to date, as the boat manoeuvred between two large whales, possibly sperm whales, that slowly languished in the gentle seas."  Another 'close wildlife encounter' on catamaran Ensemble (AUS), where a flying fish tried to 'kiss' Magli while she was on the helm - no mean feat as the helm is 2m above the water!

Learning continues onboard - congratulations to Ilya on Cheeki Rafiki (GBR) who passed the RYA SRC (short range radio certificate) while onboard, and with high marks!  An unorthodox classroom, and maybe a first for the ARC?  Cap'n Vicky on Diamonds Are Forever (GBR) has instituted the 'captains corner' during lunch: "a five minute open session for the crew to get help on any type of sailing question or area they want - today was the points of sail and the dangers of 'Sailing by the Lee', 
tomorrow we are tackling bowlines and wednesday perhaps tropical 
weather."  All good stuff.

The light winds also brought opportunities for more ocean swimming and larking about (see pictures from Casamara and Clearlake II.  The last of the downpours also provided an opportunity to wash the boat and crew - thanks to Great Escape for the picture!

The last word to Susanne (FIN) whose Finnish crew celebrated their independence day yesterday by making their Swedish crew member do all the chores.  Or so they say!

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