bumped up

Leg 1, Day 5
9 November 2011
Amory Ross, MCM, PUMA Ocean Racing

It’s been a bumpy few days for PUMA’s Mar Mostro. The winds have eased a bit (12-18 knots) but there’s some serious chop to contend with, thanks to a collection of underwater seamounts below. We’ve been taking the waves square on the bow and often lack the power to get through them, only to further the slamming. More than a few times last night I found myself half-off the end of my bunk, feet dangling dangerously close to Tom’s nav-station workplace; apologies are in order.

We’ve gone over 24 hours without tacking, and I cannot begin to tell how you nice that’s been. Without a doubt, going in a straight line on these boats makes life exponentially easier. You’re in the same bunk, your boots are where you left them, and there’s no stacking to do at all (and I’m the lucky one, only having to stack my bunk and media equipment).

But as we near the island of Madeira, our luck will change. The second (and final) frontal system is approaching and it’s going to be bringing some more localized weather. Word is we could be seeing as much as a 100-degree shift to the right in the next hour or so, which at our heading of almost due west (269) would mean an auto-tack from starboard to port, and a new sail (probably the fractional code-0). Everything is set up to go on deck so now it’s just a matter of waiting for the signs, but at 4 am it’s dark and everything takes more time. The guys are all geared up and sleeping on the floor so that when the call comes, it’s a quick upsy-daisy and on deck.

This morning should mark the end of the second stage of this race for us (the first being the Mediterranean exit), and once we’re through this system we can start the turn south. I think we’re all looking forward to some downwind sailing by now!