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North Atlantic Delivery II
Eye Candy
07/17/2008, 42 43.9'N:16 36.0'W, 350 nm west of Vigo, Spain

A small strip of blue sky looked like a neon sign in my otherwise completely grey world. Fun to look at. I've never enjoyed a simple color as much before.

Yesterday I had the big sails up - full hoist main and masthead Code 0 - in 20-25 true. Very fast. 11-12 average, points of 14 or so. Smooth too, but a full gallop for the boat, everything super taut, head back accelerations, and the autopilot doing meth, whirring and clutching non-stop. We all liked it, but as this isn't a race, I took 'em down last night, to a second reefed main and staysail. Stil surprisingly quick (9-10 avg) but very calm, the boat now to a graceful trot, the pilot in rehab and the man to get some sleep.

This morning was still blowing about the same, or a little harder. I liked the calmness of the 2nd reef/staysail, so I kept that and added a fractional asym, a tough little number from my previous boat. The three sails worked really well together - almost as fast as the big, edgy arrangement (not near as flash, 'course, but we got no audience out here) and low-key in terms of loads and acceleration. Makes sense, since the combined sail area is about the same for both arrangements but in the 3 sail combo the height is much lower, and so less leverage on the mast. Might be useful to know in a race as an decent second-best alternative.

Shredding
07/16/2008, 45 09.5'N:13 12.6'W, 220 nm northwest of Cap Finnistere, Spain

There's a big high pressure over the Azores, and a low over Portugal. I'm in the middle, headed southwest - think of being between two spinning gears, I'm where they mesh. So plenty of wind but not excessive (so far) - most importantly the boat is headed generally downwind - so it's a fast ride and pretty smooth, over even shaped waves. The pic doesn't capture the sense of sliding and rolling speed and the fine shredding of the water, the rig humming away.

07/17/2008 | Jedd Sullivan
sat msg recd - glad all well
Grey
07/15/2008, 47 04.1'N:10 10.3'W, 470 nm west of La Rochelle

Pleasant conditions this afternoon, but somewhat lacking the color department - grey sky, grey sea, grey boat. The latter was my choice of course - flat grey might not inspire, but it is a good color for a deck, as it cuts down the glare but doesn't get too hot.

I spent three weeks on a double-handed delivery from Brazil to St Thomas, on a boat with bright white decks. The mornings were the worst, as the equatorial sun (it was December and we were headed NE) lit up the glossy white cockpit like a mirror.

No such issues with BM, though to be fair I haven't seen much sun around here either.

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