Surfing Petrel - Match race to the finish
25 miles to go, land sighted, our rivals on The Kid just to leeward, flying a spinnaker. They are slightly better placed, but there will be no let up on Surfing Petrel until the finish. Helmsman concentrating on boat speed, surfing down every available wave. Aperitif cancelled, or rather postponed, until arrival in St Lucia. Some time much later: Surfing Petrel beat The Kid over the finishing line by just a few hundred metres, and the 4th boat to arrive, much to our delight. The boat is safely tied up in Rodney Bay, St Lucia, and the crew is well fed and watered and clean!. read more...
Surfing Petrel - Almost there
We have about 65 miles to go to the finish line in St Lucia, though naturally not in a straight line, with several gybes to keep us occupied. The waves are now fairly well aligned, but yesterday afternoon and during the night, there were periods when we had swell coming straight on despite sailing downwind. It's rather strange slamming into the sea with the spinnaker flying. Quite testing too for those trying to sleep.The boat we have been racing closely with over most of the Atlantic is The Kid, a slightly bigger and faster boat. We have managed to mostly stay in touch all this way. Yesterday afternoon their speed had dropped significantly and it transpires that their big spinnaker is out of action (there is often a good story attached to spinnaker disasters.. we shall have to wait. read more...
Surfing Petrel - Back on track
The wind dropped off yesterday afternoon, eventually reading 0.1 knots in the middle of the night, with not a ripple on the sea which by then was helpfully lit by the moon. However, there is always some swell on the ocean, and so the sails flogged noisily from side to side, preventing some from getting their allocated quota of beauty sleep. The wind finally filled in from the northeast, and Surfing Petrel is now up to surfing speed, heading in the general direction of the finish line for once. We have seen only one other yacht and a couple of ships in the past week, living in our own world at sea, and are not missing the pre-Christmas commercial fest, dodgy xmas muzak, or the smell of cinammon being pumped into supermarkets.Only 545 miles of peace left! Miranda/ Surfing Petrel. read more...
Surfing Petrel - Warm in the Tropics
Not an isobar to be seen for hundreds of miles on the synoptic chart. Light and fluky breeze on the menu for the next day or so. Surfing Petrel is still gently moving along. There are a few large clouds around, but we have been left in peace so far today. It's quiet in the midday heat, the crew keeping movement to a minimum, and occupying patches of shade. The heat has even silenced the story tellers...We should be liberated from the light air trap sometime tomorrow.. read more...
Surfing Petrel - Midnight
Stunning clear night sky, zero light pollution out here, millions of stars. The wind is quite light and Surfing Petrel is gliding along leaving a trail of phosphorescence in her wake. It is still warm on deck, but a welcome relief from the baking heat of the day. We have seen dolphins several times over the past couple of days. Their squeaking can be heard from inside the boat. Other than the dolphins and the occasional flying fish, we have seen no other wildlife for days. The weather for the next couple of days looks complicated. The trade winds are due to go on strike again. Our ETA in St Lucia will not be improving. Position reports, or 'school reports', as they are called on board, are available every four hours and eagerlyawaited.Time to pick up the midnight school report now.... read more...