Rocket ships

The Open 60s are two days away from the finish line

Thursday November 21st 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Miranda Merron reports from on board UUDS in sixth place in the Open 60 fleet.

It's still dark outside, I think sunrise is in a couple of hours. We are being punished now for having had awesome sailing conditions yesterday. Had the monster kite (367 m) up for five hours, great downwind sailing, but I have to steer when it's up.

I was quite relieved when the afternoon squall clouds started to form - gave me an excuse to drop it and put up the gennaker. The night started alright, got a couple of hours sleep before being rudely awakened by the main trying to gybe. Clouds everywhere, lots of squally things.

Our right hand limit is 270 degrees, and we were doing 280 so decided to gybe. As I started to furl the gennaker, the wind came up and shifted, making it a bad idea for course, and anyway the gennak is a beast to furl when it's windy. The lesson, and I should know by now, is NOT to attempt manoeuvres in squalls.

We are trucking along in the right direction, but the prospect of any more sleep is out. Just to add to the fun, the lazy gennaker sheet got caught under the bow to windward and was reappearing to leeward somewhere back near the keel.

The boat is moving fast so there is a tremendous amount of load under water. I tried winching the sheet forwards using a block and the mast winch, but got that thoroughly locked up with a couple of riding turns. I eventually managed to push the sheet back under the bow with the boat hook during a lull.

Now drenched in sweat, exhausted and hungry. According to the eletronic chart, we have about 1720 miles to go. Have now got the both the boat and Guadeloupe on the computer screen, just, but it means we are making progress.

Miranda/ UUDS 23 27N 31 48W

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