Banque Populaire V

Banque Populaire V

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Day 20

It's been an exciting night on board Banque Populaire..We have been sailing just behind a cold front, on starboard gybe, and the cold polar air was packing some mean squalls. The swell was near the beam and was forecast to be 10m, but was probably 'just' 5/6m. In the first squall, we had a steady 50 knots of cold, dense air for several minutes, which was plenty with 2 reefs and the staysail, in the dark. Jean-Baptiste did a great job of keeping the boat in control..and we spent the rest of the night with a safer combination of 3 reefs and the bigger Solent jib, going through several more squalls.

In the morning we went to 2 reefs and the Solent, and although the squalls became a little weaker, we did go through one of 40 knots that saw our boatspeed top out at a rather too impressive 48knots!

Now the sky is clearer, the sun is shining and there are just occasional, smaller squalls. The swell is much longer and less steep, so we have now gone to the small gennaker and 2 reefs in the main..Wind 28-33k.

A slightly smoother ride, though still doing something as simple as getting a cup of water means bracing yourself against any possible angle of G Force, forward, back, left, right or up. It's impossible to predict what's coming next, when you are inside the boat. Like a climber you only move one limb at a time, the other 3 need to be firmly attached to something solid..

We have now done over 50% of our distance in the southern ocean, from where we entered the 40s to Cape Horn..the first part has been fantastically fast, almost exclusively downwind sailing, it's been a brilliant ride. I suspect the section to
the Horn, will not be as fast or straightforwardly downwind VMG sailing.

Here we go, on watch again, let's go!


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