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Tommy - Log 1 - About last night…

Well the good news is that we are all safe and well but last night through a whole heap of challenges at us! 

We started the race brilliantly, made it to the start line in time. Engine off. Sails Up and away we went. Within half an hour of sailing we noticed our electronic wind instruments were completely out, which means we had no idea what the true or apparent wind speed was or what direction it was coming from. We had to resort to the good old fashioned wind vane at the top of our mast, which was all well and good until we were fast approaching the acceleration zone of winds near the bottom of the Gran Canaria island. YIKES! Do we furl in our Code zero light wind sail incase we suddenly stumble across the acceleration zone? Or do we wait, but then all sorts could go wrong with a light wind sail up and wind speeds of over 25 knots. We joked about sticking our fingers in the air and guessing. Basically our wind instruments were stating 5 knots of true wind. We guessed 25 knots and we were right! Thank god for VHF radio, we called out and our trusty neighbour from Gran Canaria came to the rescue with his true wind speed.  (Thanks Dan from Interlude). We managed to manually calibrate and align the wind vane and finally we had some sort of gauge on what wind speeds we were sailing in. 

And while sorting all of this we still had to be on watch for the other 200 sailing boats heading in the same direction. Let’s just say it was cosy!

We decided to head slightly south to avoid the wind shadow from the island before heading west and by then our first hot dinner on board was needed. Thanks mum for helping me pre cook the Spaghetti Bolognese… it went down a treat!

The plan was to do double night watches, especially with having 2 new crew members who didn’t know the boat all that well. Jason and Karla took the first watch from 9pm- 1am. Stu and I had the chance of 4 hours kip until the fog horn sounded 2 hours into our nap time. We leave a fog horn in the cockpit for the person/s on night watch so that if they need all hands on deck they just sound the horn into the saloon of the boat and we all know to get up there as quickly as possible. So many thoughts go through your mind when the fog horn goes off. In this case the Code Zero started unfurling itself… Yikes! Luckily we managed to get it under control before the whole thing came out - if that had happened we would have lost the sail as it was gusting quite high wind speeds and Code Zeros are used for very light winds. With that and setting new sails there was no point in Stu and I going back to sleep so we started our 4 hours watch and let Jason and Karla get some well needed sleep. The winds were manageable, think the highest gust was around 45 knots but we were averaging about 30 knots. the swell - although we couldn’t see it seemed quite rough with large rolling waves. Sails were reefed in for the stronger gusts, I came down stairs to do the log and then Stu was calling me up on deck - both sheets from the Genoa were no longer attached to the sail which meant the sail was flapping around. I somehow quickly managed to furl in the sail and Stu went up to the bow (all clipped on obviously) and tied a sail tie around it to stop the wind from getting into it. By this time 4 hours had passed so I woke Jason up for his 2nd watch of the night and had to break the bad news. When the morning finally came we could go up to the bow to find out how both sheets detached from the sail. We reckon the eye that looped both sheets to the sail must have corroded and ripped off. There are 2 other loops on the end and with a bit of dyneema rope Jason managed to fix our Genoa. Hooray! 

Today we’ve managed to find a pocket of 20 knot wind, so staying with it, heading south west and trying to make up on the lost miles from last night’s disasters. fingers crossed for a smoother sail tonight!

P.S I’ve just busted Jason eating all the goodies from our snap box!

P.P.S Through all of this Ted has been mostly oblivious, sleeping, eating and getting lots of cuddles from all of us :) 

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