Smashed the Distance Record, Day 7

Date: Nov. 12, 2016, noon Position: 28 29.60 S, 39 41.65 E

We did it! Privateer shattered her all time distance record. We logged a whopping 186 NM day at sea. 1/2 of this distance was sailing to windward, and the other half wing-on-wing. We probably could’ve broken 200 NM if I’d set the pole out earlier. We spent a good part of the night deep reaching with the yankee blanketed by the mainsail. However, for safety I do not set the pole in the dark if I can avoid it. At first light we rigged the pole for wing & wing and the boat accelerated another 2 knots extra speed.

My muscles ache from all the sail changes and maneuvers these past few days! Constant reefing, un-reefing, dipping the pole from port to starboard, jibing, etc. We’re playing the winds and sailing as fast as we can to beat the SW buster on Wednesday.

With the 2nd front due to hit us at 0300 hours tonight, I slept throughout the afternoon as best I could. This next one should be a bit of a doozie. We’re supposed to get a 180 degree wind shift (not in our favor) so we are running as far off the the south in anticipation for a “bounce” to the north on our track line.

Today “Aliena” popped back onto our AIS and we passed again, remarkably, within sight of each other. Of all the ocean out here what are the chances… We noticed that they had come to a full stop, and I gave them a safety call on Ch. 16, with no response. I ran down the list of possibilities: either they had landed a huge fish, were raising or lowering their main, or someone/thing had fallen overboard. Later we received a call from the tired skipper: their mainsail had torn in half! Luckily they had a spare main on board. But it was in-mast roller furling and quite a feat to thread the huge sail into the slot while hoisting in a vigorous wind & sea. The skipper told me he’d lost a lot of skin, but he did it.

Around sunset the winds piped up fresh from the North at 25 knots, higher than forecast. I had a nagging feeling about the approaching front, and decided to play it safe and hoist the storm trysail and douse the mainsail. With the boom safely and securely lashed down and trysail sheeted to the strong point in the cockpit, I felt elated. We are now ready for anything. The boat immediately went from feeling a bit over-powered to under complete control. We still have the double-reef yankee flying, and can roll it up at the first hint of strong winds. Now that the storm trysail and storm staysail were set, I noticed we were still flying our French Tricolor flag. We lowered the flag and hoisted the flag of South Africa! Here we are, on our way to Africa, with a gale on the horizon and the mighty Agulhas current ahead of us. We’re as ready as we can be.

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