The last 72 hours have felt like along weekend at Alton Towers except there have been no queues and the ride has not stopped! At first the wind started to build to 15-20 knots as a steady north westerly settled in and we enjoyed the slightly flatter conditions onboard that kite flying permits. As the wind started to build and shift to a west south westerly, the heavy kite was still flying, but positioned more like a genoa, we had our first novel experience of what felt more like beating with a spinnaker!
The rollercoaster ride had only got going. The great beam rollers we have affectionately termed the huge swells we have been experiencing in these waters started to grow, crashing across the bow and spraying over our backs in the cockpit. Now fully wrapped up in thermals and full foulies bearing only our eyes, the giggles started and as the waves grew and the rivers of water flowed like torrents from the bow down across our backs, the laughter broke out. How can it be that we go from being becalmed to sunshine shorts and vest sailing to this in days?!
With wind strengths building to 30 plus knots it was once again time for white sail sailing. The kite was dropped and replaced with the stay sail and yankee 3 and we all relished the feeling of trucking along once more. As everyone took their turn rotating on the helm, the Cheshire grin immediately matched if not bettered that of the person before as the exhilaration of surfing down and over the top of the crests of the waves immediately took a hold. This is the South Atlantic we had all anticipated; the rolling swells and heart pumping sailing we have been waiting for and it feels good! It feels like we are racing. If only it will last!
As I write this the wind has once again left us. We pray it is a momentary departure and she will be back in full force by day break. One thing is for sure, you can too easily get used to averages of 10knots boat speed and 200nm plus days, but the sinking feeling of hitting a wind hole and the unknown it brings with it is hard to overcome. At these times, we pour over the scheds and take some comfort in realising we are not alone and there are others in the fleet that have slowed too.
Focus strays to the temperature. It is certainly colder. We are all wrapped up in multi layers of thermals, full foulies, gloves and hats, feeling slightly concerned about what temperatures lie ahead and how we will fare given our current state of acclimatisation being quite poor. We take comfort from regular hot chocolates and console ourselves that ‘it will be fine’. The wind will return and we will once again be trucking along to Cape Town.