East or West?Paul Cayard explains Amer Sports One's strategy...
It has been an interesting 36 hours since we passed Cape Horn.Shortly after passing the cape, the wind died for Tyco and us and the others caught up a lot as we went into the first hole. illbruck on the other hand seems to have skirted through with the last of the westerly and made the gate at the Estrecho del la Maire. After dying, the wind filled from the southeast, then east, then north for us. We ended up doing four sail changes and a back down for kelp all in one four-hour watch. The kelp we got on the rudder was like a tree. We have stopped and backed down twice in the last 36 hours to clear kelp from our keel and rudder. We have backed down twice more this morning so far. Obviously a kelp cutter on any of the foils would easily pay for itself.
After fighting the current in the Estrecho del la Maire, seeing the forecast for today and the next few days, plus our long term positioning interests, we decided to sail a fast course to the east of the Falklands. So far this looks good as the boats trying to go to the west of the Falklands are right on the wind struggling not to tack and we have been sailing at 75 degree true wind angle at 13.5 knot for 12 hours. We are now headed with a wind direction of north so we have just changed jibs and slowed down to eleven knots to hold our line. Time will tell if our strategy will pan out.
The ride is reasonable as the waves are much smaller here in the relative shelter of the tip of South America. We are making good miles towards the barn (Cayard term for the finish line. Horses always run faster back to the barn than they do on the way out). We wont talk about when we are due to arrive in Rio as the percentage of Italian in me would say that talking about the good fortune of a quick ride would guarantee to make it turn into a long one.
The outlook is for more close reaching tomorrow with a bit more wind, 25 knots. So we are settled down, no tacking required, just good trimming of the sails and good steering.
Not that there is a bad part of this race but this is not at all the thrill the last week was. Even those who wanted the Southern Ocean leg to be over have to admit that. And in life, those thrilling moments are too far between in my opinion.