At the front of the fleet the fastest boats are closing in on Sao Vicente and will be docked in Mindelo before we finish writing this article. Not surprisingly, multihulls will be the first finishers - Steven and Anne Jones’ Outremer 51 Manta Jo (FRA) followed by Norbert Paprocki’s Outremer 55-2 XXIII Treize (FRA). Not far behind is Outremer 51 Maracuja (FRA) and Marsaudon ORC50 Mongoose (USA). Oyster 595 Sydney Rock (GBR) is leading in the monohulls, closely pursued by Nessun Dorma (ITA) and Mastegot (ESP).
The main bunch of the fleet are still close together, many within sight of each other, and we’re expecting the majority to finish on Friday or Saturday. The boats that departed Las Palmas after the start, Moon Bird (NOR), Alaskada (GBR) and White Night (FIN), are all making good time and will be able to enjoy some rest and relaxation in Mindelo before the start to Grenada on 17 November.
Boisterous Downwind Frolic
Strong tradewinds and big seas are giving the boats an exhilarating and sometimes uncomfortable ride, but many are logging record 24 hour runs, including Bowman 40 Cupid (GBR) and Moody 54 Blue Pearl (GBR) both notching up over 180 nautical miles. After some strong squalls and the odd ‘too exciting’ surf, a set-up of reefed main and poled-out headsail is a sensible choice that still delivers a mile munching 6-8 knots. Towards the back of the fleet but making a respectable 6 knots, Cat’s Pajamas (AUS) has moved from ‘3rd last to 4th last’ something they describe as ‘funny as’!
One of the joys of ocean sailing is seeing wildlife, with shearwaters and petrels hanging in the yacht’s slipstream and flying fish leaping from the waves (and sometimes into the cockpit). Some crews have been lucky enough to see dolphins, and Blue Pearl (GBR) passed a turtle happily swimming along. Flying fish that land in the cockpit overnight make great bait, and now that sailors of all ages are adapting to the conditions, the fishing rods are coming out.
As the saying goes, ‘it’s the journey, not the destination’.
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