At present we are bobbing around in a wind hole off the island of Taiwan.
A bit like deja vu when we were off the island of Madeira in Leg One for
two days. Hopefully we won’t be here that long this time. It is eating
into the time we have on shore!
When we rounded the bottom of Taiwan, we started the Ocean Sprint. And,
as usual, someone switched the wind off. We were doing well for an hour
or so, and then the wind just dropped. How can one day to the next be so
different? At one point just before this we got to the heady heights of
second place. But that was when we were on a good tack. There are good
tacks and bad tacks. When the wind isn’t able to push you exactly where
you want to go, you have to go in the wrong direction, and then turn 100
degrees and go in the wrong direction again, but between the two wrong
directions you end up in the right direction. Hopefully.
So, we needed to go up, but were only able to go slightly westward. This meant that we had to turn and go eastward and slightly southward to end up northward. Sounds crazy, but it does work. When we were on the “good” tack, which is the one that is only a little bit out, we had good speeds, and were going quite well. We also were heading to the destination quite quickly. To correct the heading, we needed to tack and go on a “bad” tack. This meant that we were going eastward and slightly southwards – going back on
ourselves – but needed to do this to get across to the rhum line. If the schedules came out when we were on the good tack, as they did when they put us in second place, it looks as if we are better than we were. If they come out when we are on the bad tack – actually going backwards so to speak and not very quickly – they will put us further down the list. This is the same for all of the boats.
So once we got into the ocean sprint and virtually stopped, we knew that this one had gone the same way as the others. The leading boats had escaped the wind hole, and the boats behind us saw that we had stopped and changed course to avoid no wind. That meant that boats were passing us on both sides, leaving us wallowing around in our own self pity. What a load of rubbish! We all had a podium position in our sights, and we are now down in eighth place. Still relatively parked up.
As soon as we rounded Taiwan we encountered all the fishing boats again that we had seen during our extended journey to Danang. Fishing boat after fishing boat after fishing boat.
The lights of Taiwan were sparkling in the background – we could even make out cars on the roads so we weren’t that far away. As it was pitch dark, as soon as the little towns or villages ended no land could be seen at all. Just the lines of lights from the fishing vessels. None got in our way this time, just the wind!
My flu is now almost at an end, but others are still going down with it. I think it is going to go around the whole boat.
I have found that the pocket in my foulie top is not waterproof. I put tissues in there when I went up on watch, and when I went to pull them out to use them it was like pulling them out of a small swimming pool. Not a lot of good. So I had to get a ziplock bag and put them in. That kept them sort of dry. There was so much water coming over it was probably forcing its way in to every little crevice it could find. Probably why I keep going through head torches, because that is where I keep them. Have to keep them on my head in future!
Having the talk about a boat being de-masted in a previous race on this leg, I thought I would keep my eye on the mast. Especially as it has holes in and is letting in rather a lot of water. When I looked the other afternoon it looked to me as if the bottom of it was totally crumpled. I thought the whole thing was about to come down on my head.
Until Craig pointed out that they had put some waterproof canvas material around the bottom to try and keep the water out, and it was that which was crumpled.
Sigh of relief!
So, at present we are in hot sunshine, flat waters, but going nowhere.
All the thermals have temporarily been put away, and the fan has come out again. El Niño has been blamed. But it is not getting us to China! Why can’t we have moderation in all things?
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