Exclusive for the anarchists From Boris on board Beluga Racer in the Portimao Global Ocean Race.
I couldn`t sleep well last night. Our Class 40 was bouncing straight into a short chop close to the 20 to 24 knots of wind here in the South Atlantic.
I could have gone to the leeward bunk where is less motion but I wanted my body weight to windward. When I relaxed, I woke up quickly with my legs angled as my body slipped forward against the bulkhead. Don`t mind. These are just the last few days of a very long 40 or 45 days third leg from Wellington to Ilhabela, Brazil in our Portimao Global Ocean Race. As we are leading and some 600 miles close to the finish, positive excitement could not be overcome by discomfort. I am getting up to forget the night and cook some coffee for Co-Skipper Felix and me. I have to hold on very tight and climb around rather than the way you are used to cook your coffee in the morning, with only one eye open and the shirt occasionally still hanging out of the trousers probably. I am not even wearing a shirt. Its warm here close to Brazil.
As Felix knows I could become miserable if the coffee celebration gets too challenging, he selects some classical music from our hard disk. He selects Bach and spirits rise. We gonna need it today as the upcoming hours are going to be full on.
What a relief I think by myself a couple of hours later, totally wet from rain standing in the cockpit. As we transit north into the trade winds, we hit some subtropical rain gusts just after the coffee. This means furling the genoa, getting the inner forestay under tension, the staysail up, a reef in the main, tune the backstays etc. again and again. We also had to do a couple of tacks in a row which means stacking everything to windward every time. What a great feeling to have done this decent workout this morning and a free shower with fresh water on top. Its warm enough to stand in the 26 knots of wind totally wet barely naked. Its not a dream under the shower after a gym workout. The body feels the same but the surrounding is totally pure and fresh.
Weather routing and grib files are useless here. We sail from cloud to cloud from shift to shift. And we find it rewarding. We got into a couple of shifts just in the right rhythm. We got lifted close to our target heading on both tacks shortly after each tack.
The day goes on for a while with this stuff till we finally exit the strong rain and clouds and sail into an open space of moderate steady conditions. Here we are now taking a rest and staring at the sunset another 530 miles to go.
We seem to have a comfortable lead of 70 miles. But what the weather data predicts is unlike everything I have seen before: a total vacuum of structure, gradient and predictability. So stay tuned and wish us luck not to get trapped for half a day in a whole somewhere on the way. In fact this race is still open although the stress caused by rudiments of fear of losing the lead is replaced by positive energy and confidence. Good coffee and Bach, that’s all it needs to get that feeling. sometimes though a few unexpected lifts may help.