Selene - Final day!
As we run down to St Lucia the tension is mounting if anything. It would be too awful for something to go wrong at this stage, but with a constant wind of 22-25Kts from dead astern we are trying to get the best out of Selene for a final assault. We have been running under our standard rig of 1 slab in the main and the genoa almost fully out poled out in a goosewing. It is fast, but rather rolly and last night was one of my most uncomfortable yet.
By day break the seas were a little calmer and we rolled out a little more headsail and began the usual debate over the Badger. 25Kts is really rather more than I would care to hoist, but we needed to see what it would be like. So we decided to keep the reef in the main to take some of the sting out and hoist it and see. The hoist went OK, but we should have wooled the kite which filled a little early and was rather difficult to control initially and I almost abandoned the attempt - the lazy guy was rigged for a quick letterbox drop during the hoist. However we kept our nerve and soon had the beast under control and have been steaming along at 10-12kts consistently as the wind has stayed fairly constant. The groove is a little narrow and the helm really has to be on top form to stop the bow from rounding up (or down) and broaching out.
There was a tense moment when we had a little gentle rain, but the majority went behind and to leeward of us. We are three on deck whilst the Badger is up. One ready to fire the windward guy, and one on the vang and ready with the halyard and the retrieval line is rigged down the companionway. I am confident we can get it down swiftly and safely should the need arise, but wish that I had rigged a martinbreaker on the guy as recommended by my friend Merf Owen who has a few ocean miles under his belt. I guess we have not seen enough of the kite yet to get into a rhythm, but shall certainly be rigging a martinbreaker for our next outing. 3 on deck is tiring, but with the finish line in sight we are keen to get there as quickly as possible and give Persephone a run for her money.
We have about 180 miles to go, so sadly shall probably be in before Vicki, Vincent and Zoe arrive tomorrow afternoon. I am sure they will be able to find me. I somehow doubt I will have time to get to the airport.
Looking back at this trip, I have huge respect for what this very amateur crew has achieved, staying in touch with the two professional, fully crewed boats ahead of us and we have worked extremely well together. We have decided Kevin has a form of rope dyslexia, but he has been magnificent in the galley and a huge support on the long night watches, when his razor sharp with and thoughtful views have helped to make the nights fly by. Lily has grown in confidence and has coped with the arduous conditions better than I imagined she would and Rob has been magnificent on the foredeck and as one of our 3 primary helms. Bob has an aversion to writing a log, but otherwise has been great as navigator and has also been a principal helm - so much better when he can see the numbers on the mast instruments.
I can't believe we are nearly there. Let us hope this wind holds for us for the final 24 hours. Rum punches here we come!