Sam Davies Transat AG2R - the south will come good

Sam Davies Transat AG2R - the south will come good

Tuesday May 4 2010 Author: Sam Davies Location: none selected

Time for a Monday update, whilst I'm waiting for the weather files to zap into our mailbox by Iridium satellite connection.....

We are finally installed in the trade winds now, after a few days of light wind running South to get around a "break down zone" where a front had temporarily knocked out the trades. A bit frustrating and a lot of strategy to gybe down south, we got some bits right and some bits wrong, but generally we seem to come through OK so far.

There are a few daring guys trying to go straight through the no-wind zone as it is a lot shorter, but I don't think they will make it fast enough to worry us. The advantage of taking the long route south is that eventually we will be guaranteed stronger trade winds all the way to the Caribbean.

Life on board is cool. I still can't get over how physically different it is to sailing an IMOCA 60. I had got used to being totally exhausted and physically at my limits that this race is just so nice on my body! However, the challenge in the Figaro class is the closeness of the racing and picking exactly the right route is so essential. Where we get away lightly physically we pay mentally with the stress and pressure of making the right choices, plus the intense concentration required at the helm and trim for every minute of each watch. My brain is ZAPPED!! or, it will be at the end of the race!!! It may take a few days before I can talk about something other than sail trim , weather systems or stacking....

On Saturday we were in sight of Cercle Vert and Banque Populaire, and I got to chat to my girlfirend Jeanne which was great! Even though we are racing against each other, the Figaro class is a friendly on and when boats are in VHF range the skippers regularly chat. Armel bores us with the football results, Gildas jokes about everything, it is general chat, sometimes even discussing how each boat got through the previous conditions, almost like our debriefs in Port La Foret! However, there is
little discussion about the future strategy - that is kept well guarded secret by each boat!!

Jeanne is having a great race too. I am pleased for her as it is her come-back after having her baby Mila. Gerald joked with the others that this year it's a girl's race and those who aren't sailing with a chick are stuffed! I hope so!!! For the moment I reckon Jeanne is the best placed boat in the fleet and we could see Banque Pop sneak into the lead in the coming days.

On the life-on-board front, all is well. We have plenty of food and we reckon we should be just OK for water with 3.5 litres per person per day left.

Last night I narrowly missed a flying fish attack. I reckon Fred the Flying fish missed my nose by 5cm as he shot up from the windward side. Unfortunately for him he didn't see the winch handle and the morning revealed a fishy skid-mark and some tell-tale scales stuck on the winch handle. He was lucky in the end though as it was watch change time and Romain came up just in time armed with the bailer and bucket to rescue Fred before it was too late and Fred became sushi for breakfast. Dawn
revealed three more smaller versions of Fred strewn on the deck that weren't so lucky however.

Better go - weather files are in!
Sam x

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