Hexagon is at last back on the pace, now that I have managed to hoist the mainsail again. Without it, the boat was only really averaging between six and seven knots, whereas now she is virtually back up to full speed, making between 14 and 15 knots.
I really struggled to rig the new halyard and battled for about four hours in biting winds, which were gusting at times up to 50 knots. Still, I didn’t have to climb the mast for this repair, which was as bonus. However, just to add insult to injury, at the height of last night’s storm a lead block for one of the jib sheets broke, wrenching away the lifelines and breaking the pushpit aft. Consequently, the lack of tension in the guard-wires over the whole length of the boat will mean that I will have to watch my step on deck until I can deal with the repairs.
It is an extremely satisfying feeling to know we have been put to the test and come out the other side; the race is far from over and Hexagon is performing well.
The strong north easterly winds that we are experiencing at the moment present a tactical dilemma for me. With a high pressure system building in the mid Atlantic, one option is to go north, hopefully to skirt around the worst of the light winds that await anyone straying too far south. But sailing north, once clear of the Newfoundland coast, adds distance. ‘Which way to go?’ is the question I am asking myself.
The next test for me is to try to cook a proper meal while the boat is being tossed around. It is vital that I keep my energy levels up so that I can carry out all the repairs in these changeable conditions.