Puma's Amory Ross: Close reaching in flat water

Puma's Amory Ross: Close reaching in flat water

Wednesday April 25 2012 Author: Amory Ross Location: none selected

Location: 170 miles E of Campos, Brazil
Wind speed: 17.4 kts
Boat speed: 19.7 kts
Heading: 038-degrees
Distance to equator: 1,500 miles

These are easy miles, these. Close reaching in flat water, making 20 knots of boat speed in 16 knots of wind, there is little discomfort other than the rising temperature. In these conditions it takes little effort to keep our Mar Mostro moving well through the water. The boat moves effortlessly and were it not for the occasional fast moving spray along the rail, it would be difficult appreciating how fast we’re actually going. Life on deck is quiet, calm, and dry, and you begin to see the potential in these boats when they’re hitting their stride. A puff hits and instead of heeling over, they accelerate rapidly: 16, 17, 18, 19…it doesn’t take much to make the numbers climb!

It feels like we’ve only had a handful of these days over the length of this race, but the reward is always worth the wait. After all we’ve been through, some of the miles we’ve had to earn in utter misery, spent slamming upwind in gale force winds, slatting for days under clouds, slowing the boat down in Southern Ocean waves, it’s great watching progress pile up in relative comfort. We’re back to having Parmesan cheese with salami slices, beef jerky, and an ever-abundant collection of chocolate, but this time it’s all served on deck.

Our middle-of-the-road position seems to have worked all right, too. We haven’t fallen into the inshore duo of CAMPER and Abu Dhabi who are sailing in stronger winds, and we haven’t lost much to Groupama and Telefónica, further offshore in less current. We’re still more or less in between the two packs and closing quickly on the ridge we need to pass to reach the trade winds. It’s around 100 miles until the front, and then another 50 or so to the ridge, and the first boat to push through both of those gets a much-wanted jump start home to the north.

- Amory

 

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