We’ve reached the 20 degree north line, which is approximately the outer limits for the trade winds. They’ve moved north a little bit, over the last couple of days, so we’re still in them, but they should be diminishing in the next 24 hours or so.
20 degrees north is a good milestone. We’re generally aiming in the direction of the Azores. The routing based on these forecasts is all over the place. The weather reports are 6 hours apart and may go in completely different directions. One might go off towards Cape Finisterre. We had one routing that went due north and did a huge circle, ending up almost up to Ireland, before coming back down to Les Sables d’Olonne. That added 500 miles to the course. So, it’s all over the place, with the confusion of the weather patterns.
We spent some time today looking ahead. The forecast is quite complex, the next few days up to the north. There are a couple of lows, sort of squeezing the high pressure system to almost nothing and then it rebounds a little bit. A couple of those lows are in unusual places, over by Spain. Two of the guys, Eric Bellion and Conrad Colman, are going into that. How it was forecast to go a couple of days ago, it is not going currently, so they set up for the original forecast and are getting a bit hammered right now. Poor guys, after a long, long race around the world, they are going upwind in very strong winds.
I also spent some time on a repair today. A batten attachment had pulled out of the batten car on the mast, on reef one. We did that about the second or third day of the race, way back even before Cape Finisterre, although that one was the second batten. They are quite complex universal joints, and somehow it got pulled out. We wouldn’t be able to use reef one unless we had that batten attached. Previously, we had to replace the batten car. I was able to make it to work by taking down the one that was on the mast and went back to the old car that we had taken off the mast, way back in early November. That reef is back functioning, which is good. All systems go, pretty much.