Update day 33: deluge!
It's getting windy and cold again, the passage of the cold front just hours away. After getting smacked with a 55 knot gust that could have torn my mainsail and stopped my race I have taken the second reef earlier this time. Now I'm a little stressed not about the boat, but about the race as the rest of my group are still a little bit faster. They all have newer and faster boats that are more optimized for these reaching angles (my strong points are upwind and downwind) so I guess it's inevitable but still I do my best to walk the line between giving up miles and assuring that I won't wreck the boat before I escape the South.
I was just up on deck trimming, dressed in a waterproof top with tight latex seals at the neck and wrists (thanks GILL), neoprene hat underneath my helmet. With all the flying spray and waves breaking over the deck the visor on the helmet is the only thing that allows me to still be useful on the boat in the constant deluge. Oh what I wouldn't give to have a solid roof and perspex windows in the cockpit like the newer boats!
I was standing in the cockpit considering whether I should perhaps shake out a reef to power up the boat to get through the confused seas when a stronger 35 knots gust came through and the boat slammed its nose down the valley of a wave and accelerated to 27.2 knots of speed. "Nope" I said to myself, I think we have all the power we need right now!
Down below there is little respite as I pump all the compartments dry twice a day to recover the water that forces its way past my continued efforts to stop every hole. All things considered, Foresight Natural Energy is a pretty dry boat, but even the best seals on doors, winches and deck fittings cede ground to the constant watery attack. Fortunately the rythme of the South means that there's a ridge of high pressure and lighter winds to recuperate from the last blasting and prepare for the next!