Days 7 to 10
02 December 2009 | At sea
On Day 8 we celebrated passing the halfway mark with a Madeira cake with morning coffee and with Cousin Dean handing out presents to the kids (Thanks Chris, a lovely idea). We 'turned the corner' straight after lunch with a gybe onto Starboard and with the gennaker flying we began to head straight for St Lucia for the first time, having come well South to be sure of getting the good solid tradewinds, Many yachts have cut the corner and gained miles on us but they run the risk of not getting good tradewinds as they progress into the Atlantic.
We've mostly been flying the full mainsail with a poled-out No. 3 jib. We haven't risked using the gennaker at night although it's been tempting to do so. Yesterday the wind increased to 25 knots for most of the night and day and we posted a good 198nm for the 24 hour period. Pity we didn't break the 200nm barrier though it's been great to average more than 180nm per day so far this race.
Yesterday morning we were excited to see two other yachts, our first sighting of anyone in more than 3 days.
We lost about 10 miles this morning when our jib furling locked up as we were about to launch the gennaker. We've had to remove the furling so we cannot use it again until it's fixed in St Lucia. I then had to go up the mast to retrieve a broken mousing line for the jib halyard. That's the second time I've been to the top of the mast during this race and I can honestly say is is two times too many! We're relieved to finally be sailing again under full main and gennaker at about 8.5 - 9 knots.
With a good forecast for the next 5 days, and presuming no major gear breakages, we hope to reach St Lucia by next Monday afternoon which will make it a very quick 15 days for the ARC. The crew are all excited about arriving in the Caribbean but are also enjoying the lovely sailing conditions and the adventure of being so far from land. The night watches in particular have been surprisingly enjoyable and uneventful.
The good ship Nika has proven to be reliable and fast and our confidence in her has grown throughout the journey so far.
We've loved receiving all the emails and messages of support - they really lift the crews morale. Don't be afraid of giving us a call on the Satphone if you want the latest goss. In the meantime, we're just about to have lunch and a cold beer and get back to the enjoyment of sailing.