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Update, day 106: Keeping up the fight!

I might not be going very fast but I'm certainly keeping busy here on Foresight Natural Energy. Indeed, never have I worked so hard to go so slowly! The problem is that I am sailing upwind in light winds which is never a recipe for breathless speed and certainly not now! Going downwind on a slow boat, the wind pushes against the windward side of the sail and the sails could just as easily be a barn door or my grandmother's sheets.... anything to catch the wind.

Going upwind however it’s all about flow, flow over both sides of the sail. With sails of the correct shape the wind accelerates more on the outside of the sail than the inside and the resulting pressure differential sucks the boat along. Ideally the jib also pre-accelerates the wind for the mainsail so the their combined thrust is greater than the sum of their individual contributions. To this end I have been stringing up bits of rope all over the boat to alter the direction of pull in the sheets for both sails to try to create the most harmonious shapes possible. I might only be doing 3-4 knots but that’s a third of what I would be normally doing in these conditions and I have a lot less than a third of the normal sail area.

Aside from trimming the sails, I am sponging the inside of the boat to get out all the water I can (lighter = faster) and polishing the Solbian solar panels because they're my only source of 0 emissions energy now that the boat is too slow to generate power with the hydrogenerator function of the Oceanvolt motor. I'm still hoping to be able to finish the race as 0 emissions but that means that the boat is on an electrical diet that is as severe as my food diet!

© Foresight Natural Energy / Conrad Colman #vendeeglobe

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