Longtitude: 7° 01 S
Latitude: 112° 19 W
Course over ground: 252°
Speed over ground: 7 - 7.5 knots
True wind speed: 16 - 18 knots
Time: 7.30am (San Francisco)
1,580 nautical miles to go!
Thursday: Well, after reaching speeds of up to 11 knots yesterday and often 10 knots for periods of time, we had to goosewing it in early hours to track back north as the wind was turning more and more easterly. That slowed us down and meant we fell short of hitting the 200nm in 24 hours by 2 nautical miles. So close! Back to standard rigging now.
We had a chat on VHF with DOL SELENE yesterday but today they are pulling away and, having let the kids have their fun, are now winging it! We are looking forward to hitting the half-way mark today, “barring serious gear issue (fingers crossed…)” observed the Skipper in a group email, and thereby tempting fate.
In high spirits, the girls and I baked a banana loaf for breakfast, that was delicious, even if Catherine as sous-chef declared "I think you may have put too much sugar in Mum" while proceeding to lick bowl and spatula clean ("oh you are a kind sister" she said to Isabelle who handed her the latter!). In home ed, the morning was spent looking at the charity sector, building up to an assignment Francis will have to do for English in a few days, but Isabelle joined in the group discussion too about the different types of charities out there, what sort of scale they work on, and how best to save the world!
At 2pm sharp, great excitement as a new quiz from DOL SELENE’s Gail and Brian came through on email, and the children raced round looking for objects on boat and time zones in different cities. I don't know what they were doing exactly as that was precisely the moment Xav took over and I slipped off for a siesta!
Around 5pm we hit the half-way milestone. Huge excitement and such a great feeling. We know the second half of our passage will be longer time-wise, but at that point didn't quite appreciate by how much….
Celebratory pancakes were in order to mark the milestone, and as Catherine had been so let down by the film "Yes Man" the night before, I decreed a movie night in her honour. How about Paddington Bear? Ah London, we miss you!!! An utterly magical evening sped by, with lots of laughter. Then, just as arch villainess Nicole Kidman in the film was about to meet a grizzly (bear) end, and Paddington was set to live happily ever after with the Browns, there was a yell from Xavier. "Lucy! Life jacket on! Bow! Now!" Our speed had slowed down and he'd just registered why: our huge gennaker foresail had completely ripped in two.
The wind hadn’t been that strong at the time, only about 16 knots true wind speed, and 8 apparent, but we reckon a rogue wave must have put strain on the material.
While the children got into bed, teeth done, Xavier and I spent the next couple of hours on the bow (in the company of a small squid and a flying fish, both of which I returned to Neptune!) trying to sort the sail out and put it back together with sailing tape. Nothing doing. We didn’t have enough tape for the 25 metres of tear, it wasn’t sticking properly anyway, and we have no way to sew it - we had tried before, when our spinnaker ripped in the Atlantic (see post xxx) and established that two of us sewing can manage 0.5 metres per hour. We simply don’t have the time for that! We eventually had to give up, roll the sail up and stow it away. No words for how gutted the Skipper is - this is pretty much a brand new sail, and the second time an Incidence sail has let us down. Instead of having our gennaker up, we are back to the self-tacking jib, which is so small and ineffectual that the Skipper has half a mind to shoot the boat designer responsible for installing it, while also kicking himself that he didn’t go with his gut at the time and replace it with a larger genoa. Really, all it means is that we will slow right down now, but falling behind all the other boats is never a nice feeling. On the bright side, we are so lucky to have made such great progress already, and as the wind is dropping away dramatically so too would the benefit of having the gennaker out. And, I suppose, with the jib we can keep a tighter angle and more direct line to our destination, so in actual terms means a relative loss of maybe half a knot an hour tops, a delay of maybe a couple of days maximum.