It is easy to tell what general direction Les Sables is from here. Just face straight into the wind and waves, and that’s where it is. Well, most of the time. Last night and this morning have been a continuing battle with shifting wind direction and velocity resulting in several sail changes.
But all night long, no matter what jib I put up, it was the wrong one within 15 minutes. For the last several hours, I have stubbornly stuck with our staysail to deal with gusts near the squalls that have now returned to the proceedings. That means we are under powered for 90% of the time, which is driving me crazy. A couple of times last night I hung on to the working jib in the blasts thinking it would die down soon.
This would be fast, but it felt idiotic with the boat heeled like crazy and pounding deafeningly while feathering both main and jib. I would keep at it and wait it out for an hour or so….until I couldn’t take it anymore. Then of course as soon as I would go through the exercise of bearing away, rolling up the jib, going to the foredeck to hoist the staysail, and getting back on course….within minutes the wind would die off leaving us slowly plodding again.
Nice sunrise under the clouds though:
Right now we are going at a mere 6.5kts…no, wait, here is a gust….rain….up to 30kts of wind now and up to 10kts speed almost close hauled. How long will this one last? Probably not long, but who knows! I guess I shouldn’t complain, as there are several boats behind us that have been trapped in even slower conditions for a long time…..
The view forward:
Meanwhile, we are down to our last subject in our Ocean Sciences project on http://www.oceanplanet.org/ and www.bigelow.org/vendeeglobe. In a way this subject, “The Global Conveyor Belt” is a summary of much of the other Ocean Science subjects we have featured along the way. It is a bit complex, involving wind driven ocean currents, differing ocean salinity (salt content), and other forces driving ocean “circulation.” I hope you enjoy it, and by now you should be an expert on Ocean Sciences….;-)
It is my dream to be the first American to officially finish the Vendée Globe and bring Ocean Planet back to the United States to continue our Ocean Planet program for kids. But we need more sponsors to join us! It is not too late to come aboard before Les Sables and take part in the celebration of the finish. But please hurry. Every day I wait for good news in the emails, and I never give up hope that the appreciation and love for Ocean Planet that our followers have shown will catch on with potential sponsors.
In fact, I never give up, period. If I paid much attention to financial reality, we never would have gotten this far.
Current ETA in Les Sables d’Olonne: Feb 22-24.
Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet