1st January 2017
Position: 38°13.2N 012°33.6W
Swell: SW 4-6
Weather: Various small squalls around, and conditions getting increasingly gusty. Sea state steadily building from ahead, and wind steady at a 15-20kts true for now. Planning on holding this more westerly course close to wind until it veers, then make more South on the other tack.
A very busy 24 hours here on Discoverer. New Years happened, but passed fairly quickly. Everyone spent an hour on deck together celebrating the moment, and DJ PANTS (Joe) was on hand to ensure the good music continued (as he does every watch). We held the genoa all night, until about 5 am when Connor’s watch made the call that it was time to have it down. After several days of remarkable service, above and beyond what any of us expected, the faithful cable ties were cut off and consigned to Discoverer legend forever (and the recycling).
It turns out the genoa is a much bigger sail than any of us really appreciated, especially when lying across the deck being flaked into the bag. We got the off-watch out of bed slightly early to make it happen, as we had the genoa and yankee 1 both needing to be cleared and bagged on deck, and then the yankee 2 pulled up, hanked on, and hoisted. It seemed like an unfair workload for 4 men alone!
With a full complement of sails up again the morning watch had a blast of a time, with the most consistent wind of the trip so far. Discoverer felt like a totally different boat, finally in the conditions she was made for. Hard on the wind and nicely powered up, we were doing an easy 9 kts and despite life returning to the ever-challenging angle that is upwind, things felt better.
Our weather routing partners at WRI have been updating us to some heavier weather expected to hit us tomorrow. The wind and sea state have been are building all day, and we are anticipating gale force conditions for much of tomorrow into the 3rd. We decided to push on directly to Las Palmas, with some slight adjustments to our course to avoid the worst of the conditions, and have spent the day preparing the boat accordingly, so everything and everyone is ready to handle our first little blow with confidence.
I went up the rig this morning to have a proper look through everything for the first time at sea, just to satisfy myself that all was in order. Connor’s massive windsurfing board was moved from the mid-ships guardwires, where it was very vulnerable to water coming over the foredeck turning it into a missile for all those behind. After much wondering where on earth we could fit it, it’s been wedged in the sail locker, just fitting forward of the watertight door. It was lucky it just fitted, otherwise the recip saw was coming out…
Various other bits of securing deck equipment complete and stowing supplies below for life on an angle not yet experienced yet, the boat and team are ready to go. It will be an uncomfortable couple of days living life on-board, but nothing the boat hasn’t seen before, and nothing I don’t think we can take in our stride. Getting a satellite signal at 25° while doing 9 kts is challenging, so I hope this will go through, and won’t promise much for tomorrow. A prepared and anticipating Discoverer signing off.
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