Scarlet Island Girl - Island Girl Pointe Nero
All is well out here, great sailing last few days in 15knot trade winds, we have had the big Blue kite on for most of this time, a spell of wind into the early 20’s last night prompted a peel (well a quick drop and hoist) to the big heavy kite, only a fraction smaller, but as it was originally intended as a heavy kite on a 70’er it is fairly bomb proof! Think combined with our new anti wrap net, and a boom preventer makes the passage almost straight downwind less scary!
Earlier today at about 0600UT we passed our pointe Nero, which is the point at which we are furthest from dry land, Barbados to our West and the most NE Cape Verde island both a hair under 1000nm away (over 1000 land miles tho), of course the nearest sold stuff is much nearer than that at about 3miles away straight down!
Our routing onboard has us in for sundowners on Thursday, now that would be nice! We will have to see if there are any more curve balls to slow this convenient arrival time, i think i have only ever arrived once in daylight on my previous 8 ARCs, so fingers crossed for a second time! I have been in very frequent contact with my trusted weather router Charlie Carlow, who is a veteran of 6 previous ARCs with me (well from his desk somewhere in Spain!), but have omitted to ask him to ensure a daylight arrival. Charlie’s input is invaluable, whilst we can look at basic weather Gribs on board and predict an optimal route, he is able to look at far more sources of weather and help us avoid go slows, and unpleasant weather features such as thunderstorms and heavy rain where possible. It is amazing how much ground that can be lost in the wrong cloud, the grib file shows a nice average wind of 20knots, but reality is that the actual wind is anywhere from 0-40knots from a wide variety of directions, not good! on many occasion some intricate routing from Charlie has seen us sailing in relatively clear skies whilst our competition are dodging lightning with the wind blowing round in circles. However sometimes cloud and rain are too hard to navigate around, even for Charlie, this can prove a good opportunity for the shower gel to come out and have a good clean!
The speedy French on Shah have been kept at arms length, we have now a little over 120miles lead in terms of distance to finish, so with just 1000nm to go we are feeling more confident of tasting the st Lucian Rum before them, the rest of our class seem to be a little further back, but at least now are all on the move again, this should boost their moral, floating around mid atlantic waiting for wind can be a tad frustrating.
We have now eaten the last of our lovely precooked food made for us by my even more lovely wife Sarah, so whilst it is great that the fridge need not be a freezer anymore and power consumption is lower, i am not holding out too much hope that the tinned stuff is going to be quite so tasty. This in mind we have now got a fishing line out, hoping to secure us a Mahi Mahi, or little fat Tuna for dinner. I had promised the team that once we had a lead of more than 10% the distance remaining we could start fishing so hopefully it won’t slow us too much! So far we have caught a lot of sargasso weed, i am not sure Sargasso salad is going to be a big hit.
With our own class beginning to shape up in our favour we are looking increasingly at the overall racing title, the tough Swedes on Talanta are seemingly allergic to warm weather and picked a northern passage through the big low pressure 10 days ago, this has kept them on a northern trajectory, and importantly avoided a big calm patch of wind to their South that had the remainder of us sailing a rather odd route to duck under it. Now we are in trade winds we have the more consistent weather and the sun too! Our latest predictions have almost a photo finish (on handicap) between us, it will be interesting how this shapes up, we expect them to finish around 1800UT on the 5th and have ourselves finishing 2100UT on the 7th, giving us a precarious lead of 2hrs. It is fascinating how despite such radically different routes the handicap outcome can be so close. i remember well in 2014 when just 20mins on handicap separated us on Scarlet Oyster from the mighty 100 foot Leopard. Either way I look forward to sharing a rum with them on our arrival (if they are still drinking after 2 days on the island!)
Lunch is served so best i go, looks rather tasty actually tuna and sweetcorn wraps made by Stephanie, hopefully we can catch a real one for dinner too!
By for now
Team Scarlet on Island Girl