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Cape to St Helena 2018 2018 Day 7

Happy New Year and welcome 2019! How was it for you?

There’s magic in every new beginning, but for now we have a fleet of sailors getting stuck right into the middle of an ocean adventure. The look of excitement and anticipation in the faces of crews before the start tells a story they are now living…

The craic is good, as is the sailing. The “miles to go” are whittling away, and while the line honours leader Banjo is close to entering the last quarter of distance, the main pack have spread out a little east and west of the rhumb line, and all the yachts still racing are into the second half of their race. The weather outlook for today is fantastic, but the wind will start easing in the next days as it becomes patchy in the final approach to the island. Banjo should be in by Thursday evening or night, with the main bunch looking at a weekend arrival…

News interpreted from a somewhat understated Dale Kushner aboard Yolo was that it was fabulous sailing yesterday in sublime conditions with substantial progress.

“As night bore on, the wind shifted and dropped a bit but the barometer held. At night, cloud often forms as the water temperature is high so there is a lot of humidity. During the day, the sun normally melts it off. That, together with a very late moon rising, makes it an inky dark, where you struggle to see the horizon. By early morning the barometer had risen as the high has come north. This hopefully wont last long. Game plan is to be near or even west of rhumb line to place well for the easterlies as one gets closer to the island. I will still be doing the odd gybe today to try keep moving.”

The guys aboard Caribbean Soul would have us believe they had a quiet night and a rum on the new year! ”Bit of a grey day today. What better way than to start the new year sailing? All good on board still going down wind. No fish yet. We keep on sailing fast as we can. Hope Rotary Scout is managing to sort out their issues.”

Carpe Diem are tired and looking forward to a hot bath when they arrive! We think they should have another refreshing cuppa tea!

The happy crew aboard Asante have sadly blown their spinnaker again so it’s back to white sails for them.

Ronin also damaged their kite a couple of days ago, and have been sailing with a screecher sail instead, but its halyard broke just around sunset. The sail is fine, but the halyard is down the mast. “Knew we should have used dyneema!”

The name Screecher comes from a combination of Spinnaker and Reacher. A highly versatile sail, in light airs the Screecher is used as an upwind genoa. As the wind increases it becomes a reaching sail and in heavy air, a downwind sail. Dyneema is a type of rope that is extremely strong and quite resistant to stretch. A halyard is a rope that is connected to the head of a sail and is used to hoist the sail up the mast. Changing, rethreading or replacing a halyard up the mast is quite challenging at sea.

Naledi celebrated New Year with fantastic weather with their gennaker flying. “Happy New Year from Naledi now 600 miles away from St. Helena and preparing to cross the Greenwich Meridian tomorrow. We just popped a bottle of Kiddies Champagne, drank it with a delicious Pannetone and are thinking of our loved ones at home. Otherwise great sailing with the same spinnaker up for more than 24 hours. Last night was the first when everybody felt confident enough to leave it up. New year couldn’t have started any better !”

Compromise was “the boat that rocked” last night, and there are a few tired sailors today.

Banjo had a fantastic new year’s eve formal dinner (at the table) as the sun set, which went into the night in mild but pleasant conditions …. only to be woken up at 03h30 with Sarel shouting “torn spinnaker”.

“By the time we scrambled out of bed and donned our harnesses the kite ripped apart and the bottom half went under the boat – bugger! We had to cut what was left to retrieve it, so it is toast. So we unfurled the A0 and goosewinged till daylight. Right now we have a fractional kite up in about 18knts, and have resumed our effort to break the record – still doable if the wind holds out, and the grib files look good. We are all in good spirits despite the setback, and are busy arguing our strategy and all the permutations – good fun!”

All the boats wish all the supporters out there a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sailors, the feeling is emphatically mutual!

by Luke Scott

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