What a 36 hours it has been! We arrived at Great American IV in the dark, anticipating heavy traffic, and downloaded a weather GRIB file for analysis of our route. Then our friends arrived and the emotions started flowing. Too many hugs and handshakes to report, and then, 0954, our slot for departure, and off we went down the canal, with an estimated 300,000 cheering, cheering, cheering, wishing every skipper well.

How many tears flowed in the fleet? A lot I’m sure. And then, suddenly you have to sail the monster boat around the world, alone, a big task, but also a big task is simply starting the race, with 28 other Open 60s in a confined space. Off we went with our team piling of the boat into RIBs with 15 minutes to go, and I was alone…

After the start, we sailed through the night. Gradually the wind built, and became squally, going from 15 knots to 20 to 25, and then to 5, and then back up to 30 or 35. And sail changes were made in the dark, of necessity. Genoa to solent to staysail, and then mainsail to one reef, then 2 reefs.

In the morning, with lighter wind, I hoisted the mainsail back up to the top (320 hard grinds on the pedestal, and then noticed a batten connection to the car on the track was disconnected. A quick conversation with Joff by Iridium phone confirmed a spare, and a procedure. I climbed the mast a few feet and stood on the sail to remove a short section of track (8 bolts) which would then allow removal of the faulty car and replacement with the good car. The connection was finally made (not simple with the mainsail luffing), but eventually done, and off we went again, although sadly our little group of boats from last night that I had seen by their running lights and on AIS, was gone from sight.

We’re back on track now, making 12 knots toward Cape Finistere, where a Ship Traffic Zone restricts our movement. We’ll decide shortly whether to go inside (shorter but with more fishing boats to dodge) or outside (longer but with less traffic).

We’ll fill you in tomorrow!

Winch Pedestal Revolutions
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Amp Hours: Wind
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