Meat is Murder
Rail Meat’s final updates aboard the Class 40 ‘Dragon’ before hitting Bermuda for the end of the singlehanded portion of the Bermuda 1-2:
0930 EDT – It is another beautiful day, with sun and fluffy cumulous clouds but no anvil heads to worry about. Wild Eyes should be right in front of me, based on her last position, although she was farther to the east, on the rhumb line. I am 3 miles to the west of the rhumb line, with the big kite back up and going 9.0 knots on 11 knots of wind at 140 degrees true wind angle. I am not 100% to the polars (yet) but am damn close. Time to get Wild Eyes, although I think I will run out race course before I can build enough gap to correct over her.
I never realized how multi-disciplinary solo sailing was until I did it. Sailor, navigator, sail maker, boat builder, rigger… out here you are the only one to turn to when things go pear shaped. It is a big part of the appeal for this corner of our sport. Today’s word is "diesel", as in "diesel mechanic" as in "I hope this dripping diesel leak won’t ignite on my hot engine manifold and light me on fire"… Kidding, kind of. My engine is very slowly leaking diesel fuel. I have isolated the source, but have no good way to fix it until we get to the states. Oh well…it only matters when I am charging the batteries. So if I die in a fiery inferno, blame yourselves since I am using those precious amp hours to send in these updates.
It still beats sitting behind a desk, which would have been my other option for today. As Kokopeli suggests, the desk option sucks. Jan – tell Sidney that I would love to let Robert know, but he is no longer in VHF range (thanks be to Poseidon). Also tell her that the sentiment is… what is the word… troubling after I extended my hospitality to her and her mommy and daddy last race so she would not have to sleep on a Mini when they were in Bermuda. Ask her where her buddy Robett, with his romantic Quebec accent was then, eh? And tell her I still think it was her daddy who clogged my head by wiping his butt with a paper towel. I would of finger printed the paper towel for absolute confirmation, but it was a bit worse for wear. Perhaps I should have used DNA….
Time to get back top side and put the rest of Sol’s hammer down. There is no tomorrow in this leg.
1426 EDT: Well, the kite stayed up for 3 hours, then just as I spotted Wild Eyes sail on the horizon, the wind headed us by about 10 critical degrees. This has to be what a privateer felt like, hunting a ship of the Spanish main. Spotted on the horizon, decks cleared, sail plan optimized and the chase was on. Meanwhile, the men on the other ship worked frantically to squeeze every ounce of speed out of their boat, in an attempt to reach the safety of port before they could be overtaken.
The big kite works to about 120 true, and first the wind slipped up to 117 true, then to 113 with puffs going even higher. While I sucked it up for a while at 117, it was becoming increasingly untenable. I could either drop east of the rhumb line and hope it clocked back and I would make up the distance paid with better angles on a bigger sail, or I could swap out the spinnaker for the jib, sacrificing speed for pointing ability, or I could swap the spinnaker for the code sail.
The latter has trades offs too. The sail is perfect for the conditions, good to about 9 knots and good from just where the spinnaker lets off (120 true) up to about 90 true. But.. it is a bareheaded change when going between spinnaker and code. Is the speed and pointing ability gained worth the time lost? With 71 miles to go, yes. Spin came down, flawlessly (sacrifice to Poseidon must have worked), and the code went up. Maybe 6 to 8 minutes lost.
Mike’s sail is growing on the horizon, and he is sailing deeper which is going to cost him later unless by some miracle we get lifted. I doubt it… the GRIB files say other wise and if any thing the land effect may actually head us a bit more in the final miles. I have height and speed, and look like I will take him with room to spare. Corrected time, however, is looking unlikely. I have 71 miles to make up these 6 or so miles to even up, and then another 15 to 20 to top out corrected time? Not gonna happen, but I will certainly give it my best shot.
Back to the action.