We can Focus on the Corn Now

Position: 51,20.76S , 125,56.92W

Speed: 19 knots, Course: 121 deg.

Long Day today with plenty of decisions to be made. So far so good. We are finally done with the northern loop and we can focus on the Corn now. Movistar ended up beating us to the “bouy” by about 5 boat lengths. It was kind of neat to have two boats side by side as we approached this GPS position. They did a gybe set there while we did a simple “bear away” set and then gybe calmly about 10 minutes later. It is 2300 miles to the next mark after all.

We gybed back onto port, first, amongst the top three boats and headed for the Corn. The wind direction was 20 degrees right of the GRIB so we decided to go back to seat of the pants sailing and ignore the fact that the GRIB wanted us to continue on starboard for another three hours. “Sail the wind you got”, someone once told me. “A forecast is just that, someone’s best guess.”

The GRIB is a digital weather forecast that we receive 4 times a day and plug into our routing software. The GRIB is not always right, it is just a forecast. So we have to use other sources of information to check and correlate the GRIB to reality. We use the position reports, satellite pictures, and general high seas bulletins.

When we gybed back onto port, we were heading 10 degrees to the right of Cape Horn. Good enough for us. We have been letting her rip since then and now find ourselves in the lead.

It is a bit early to get excited about this though. It could be that there is or will be more pressure in the south over the next couple of days. So we are watching the forecasts and the wind reading we get from the skeds, and may try to move south a bit relative to the group. Movistar is trying to get up to where we are, east, after holding starboard and the southerly course the longest before gybing toward the Horn. Seems they are not too sure where they want to go. It looks to me that ABN1 is comfortable playing the low road. They always have the afterburners to come up high if they need them.

The boats that came through the ice waypoint after us like Brasil and ABN 2 never had to gybe to starboard as they were being picked up by the Northwesterly’s on the leading edge of the cold front when they got there. We are all trying to line up in the correct place along the cold front and ride it all the way to the Horn. There should be more wind to the northwest so the boats behind should compress on the leaders as we go.

I always think about home when I get this point on this leg and we approach the 122 longitude line.the longitude of San Francisco. I think a little more about my family on this day. I miss them a little more on this day.

We had the big mast head spinnaker on most of the night but then the “martin breaker” blew the spinnaker off the bow sprit and we had to take it down. The Martin Breaker is a little device that allows you to “trip” the spinnaker out of the bowsprit and take it down. It is a type of remote control emergency release device that can be operated from the cockpit. We were contemplating a change anyway as we are on the edge of controllability with the big kite. Now were are on our fractional spinnaker and while it isn’t wildly fast on this angle it is a lot more stable puts less stress on the helmsman. It is still easy sailing, 20-25 knots of wind and 20-22 knots of boat speed. We just did 120 miles on our last 6 hour sked.

I am fading fast. I am going to have to get Jules up and out of our bunk so I can get in.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean