Tough Intro to the South Atlantic

Leg 2, Race 3! Rio to Cape Town.

Mission Performance at the start in RioWell we’re off, Rio is now behind us and Cape Town the destination. After starting underneath Sugar Loaf mountain and around the headland to sail along Copacabana beach it was out into the South Atlantic.

From the off we were into strong headwinds and moderate seas. This proved to be a tough introduction for the new leggers with the majority of them going down seasick almost immediately.

We also discovered how difficult it is on these boats to change the headsails, especially in a strong seaway. In fact almost impossible without bearing away to reduce the motion and going bareheaded. The first night, with limited crew we simply dropped the headsail and sailed under staysail alone until the morning and we were able to hoist the number 3. Even this had to be done by bearing the boat away again. This comes about because of the design of the bow section. It is simply too narrow to be able to accommodate two headsails at once, in fact it is not quite big enough for one! How we are going to be able to carry out a headsail change in a real sea and stronger winds remains to be seen.

We also have further problems with the mainsail halyard jammer that refuses to grip the halyard. This means that we have to leave the halyard on a winch at all times; not a problem until we have to tack/gybe. The root cause of this issue is the wrong size halyard; 14mm as opposed to 16mm which the jammers are designed for.

Otherwise is back to life at an angle and fighting the fatigue of going back into the watch system again. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I lost the toss with the other watch leader and drew the double night shift for our first night; including the dreaded 2am – 6am Death Watch! For my sins I’m Watch Leader for this leg so all being well this will be my qualifying passage for my Ocean Master certificate.

No wildlife to report as yet, other than the flying fish down here are of a larger variety and blue. Ten counted on the boat the night before last! I await my first sighting of an Albatross therefore.

Progress has been good to do with our daily averages increasing day on day; 240 miles the first day, 260 the second and 274 miles today. The target now is for a 300 mile day. Once we break through into the South Atlantic high and the N-NW winds allowing us to break the kite out again this should be more than achievable!

Finally a cous cous update; this wasn’t restocked in Rio and is therefore off the menu for this leg thankfully!

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