We have pushed the boat a bit more in the past 24 hours. Last night we were heading north toward the east coast of Ireland and got a bit more wind than expected. The sea got rough and the boat started slamming so I decided to tack and reach off toward France and lighter winds as I did not want to put the boat through her first big structural test in the dark where visual inspection is much harder.
Today in the light have been smashing around in the waves a bit more and all seems solid. We have been working our way to the north and west as we are expecting a low pressure to pass to our north tomorrow around 1200 UTC. This will bring northly winds after the front passes so getting north now is like getting to the top of the ski slope on the chair lift. We have southwesterly winds now preceeding the front.
This “2000 mile qualification race or passage” is required by the race organizers to make sure that eah yacht has been thuroughly tested in ocean conditons before the start. The Race office is polling us every 15 minute just like they will during the race to produce the position reports that you will al read, so they ar tracking us to make sure we do the 2000 miles. You don’t have to go anywhere in particular so as we did 8 years ago on EF, we are using this period of time to test sails and sail combinations. We don’t have the advantage of having a second boat to test against as we did in EF, boat nonetheless, we can acquire data that is very usefull.
Tommorrow with the north wind, we will look at our spinnakers and probably see some pretty high boat speeds. Winds are supposed to be around 25 to 30 knots so the boat will be doing about the same.
My first impressions of this boat is that it s much more powerfull that the 60’s were. It is a bit daunting actually. It will take some good sail handling techniques to keep the manouvers safe and efficient duing the race. We have been learning a lot these first few days.
Life onboard is reminiscint of the other parts of the Volvo oceann race I have done….damp clothes all the time, difficult sleeping, always hungry, freeze dried food actually tasted pretty good this time thanks to Dry Tech, salty hair, beard growing out… I’ll probably look like Santa Claus this time. Curtis got us the really good sleeping bags from North Face so we can burrough in when those moments come along.
In 24 hours time I will have a better idea if this thing is VOR 60 squared or cubed.