It’s the 4th full day of racing and I had a great chat on the sat phone with Peter this morning. One could immediately hear a lift in spirits with the sound of the crew laughing and chatting in the background. It was a good evening with music blaring out loud last night over the speakers to build the “gees”. After supper the crew not on duty slept like logs and apparently were difficult to wake for their watches!
They hoisted the spinnaker for the first time early this morning. The crew are now busy tidying up the boat after the storm and the lifelines look like a Chinese laundry with all their sodden clothing hung out to dry. The bunk mattresses have been brought up on deck to air and dry. It sounds like Virgil has taken on the role of “house manager” and he’s making sure that everything gets shipshape quickly.
Peter gave some more details about the storm on Sat and Sun – it sounded really hectic. The wind was blowing at nearly 50 knots at times and the seas were huge. At one point on Sunday a wave filled the cockpit, spilling water down the companionway into the saloon. Peter was very complimentary about the crew, saying that even though they were exhausted at times there was never any panic and everyone acquitted themselves superbly. Our Scouts are made of stern stuff!
The boat has not escaped entirely unscathed by the storm. Peter sms’d last night that the digital display from the charging system got wet and the readout died. He wanted to know if this would affect the charging of the batteries by the solar panels. I called the agent this morning who reassured me that the system would still charge, it was just the display that would not indicate the state of charge/ discharge. Peter was very relieved to hear that news!
A bracket on the auto-pilot has broken, so they have to steer by hand at all times. But that’s no problem as most of the crew are very competent on the helm. And those who are less experienced will quickly learn. Peter says the bracket can easily be fixed in Rio in time for the return trip.
The guys have not managed to get the email working yet, but are trying a few tricks with help from Mike Cox at Cape Maritime Electronics.
So now the guys and girls must just keep the boat sailing as fast as they can. It’s a bit ironic, but after surviving too much wind they must now find a course that keeps them in enough wind to sail as quickly as they can. The Cape to Rio Yacht Race is famous for windless “holes” in which hapless yachts can wallow for hours/ days waiting for a breeze to get them going again.