As one of the smaller boats in the ARC, Maunie is also one of the slowest, only no one seems to have told her that; last night was fast and furious.
If you are following us on the Fleet Tracker, you may have spotted a distinct kink in our track – we're heading further south, aiming to be below 20 degrees north by the end of today. We are hoping to keep below the disturbed and light winds ahead of us so all being well the extra miles will pay off. Proper racing boats have shore based forecasters producing optimal weather routes for them whereas we're interpreting (in a distinctly amateur way)the general weather charts and grib files as best we can – with helpful additional input from Graham's father in Scotland.
Our change of course also meant a change in sail plan. We have stowed the pole for the yankee and now have both sails on the same side on a broad reach (with the wind over the helmsman's left shoulder). It's generally a faster point of sailing for us but is more challenging on the steering, particularly when rain squalls drive in as well, so Winnie now needs a regular human helping hand to keep us on course. The night watches were therefore fairly busy, especially as we encountered a long line of rain squalls which saw the windspeed increase from a comfortable 18-20 knots to a handful 35 knots. Graham was on deck several time in the night to assist and Dianne got particularly wet from both waves and heavy rain. She also had quite a shock when a flying fish landed in the cockpit at her feet!
So it's a bit challenging and we're all fairly tired but it's great to be sailing so fast – we've covered 169 miles in the past 24 hours, our best day yet with an average speed of just over 7 knots. Let's hope we can keep it up for a couple of days – we continue to be Safe, Happy and, now, Fast.