Here things are continuing as per usual. Very very hot and it’s difficult to sleep, especially during the day. As Marc says, everyone is drinking gallons of liquid, but nothing is coming out the other end! The water maker is on almost constantly to supply us with sufficient drinking water. It really is a lot worse than Leg 1 or Leg 5 for heat and dehydration. Several people have had to retire below and get out of the sun and yesterday Nugget collapsed while on the helm, from the heat. Not drinking enough apparently. I’ve not seen Marc or Craig move as fast for some time (they are both very protective of the teenager). She’s fine – just needed to rehydrate and get out of the sun, but it made us all more aware of drinking regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty. We are doing a fair amount of upwind sailing at the moment, so the wind also dries you out without even noticing it.
We have also just been given our end date for racing (tomorrow morning) so will almost definitely come in last again. Which sucks. The RTWs are more resigned to this but for some of the leggers, doing so badly is tough.
We have been going much slower than expected, even with the same wind as the other boats, so are trying to wrack of brains and figure out what could be slowing us down. The worst moment was being in sight of Visit Seattle about a week ago, and then watching then sail away from us on AIS, in the same wind. They are currently around 90 miles ahead of us. This is not normal – we are usually much faster than them! We will be motoring from tomorrow morning, in company with PSP, Visit Seattle and Mission. Next stop Costa Rica to stock up on fuel and then Panama.
There’s not much happening on board beyond the occasional bird (which Wendo starts talking baby talk to, and insists on feeding by scattering peanuts around the deck for us to slip on) and the sailing continues to be easy. Lots of sail changes as the wind shifts and changes fairly regularly – Code 1 to Windseeker, to Yankee 1 and stay sail, and back again. We are all pretty good at getting on with the jobs now, so everything happens very
smoothly, which is a nice change. Minimal shouting. And Wendo is no longer coming up on deck for every sail change but entrusting us to the task. Also nice. I have taken to working out by trying to sweat sails up myself and have a pretty good technique going (though it’s trickier when I’m wearing flip flops). It’s good exercise and burns off some of the calories from all the tuck being eaten. I can do the Stay Sail and Windseeker, no problem. The Yankee 1 is a bit too big for me to handle alone though. People are reading and sleeping on deck and we have cushions spread out which makes it all much more comfortable.
The most interesting thing of the last few days was dropping Wendo over the side, twice. The second time she went under the boat to see whether we had anything wrapped around our keel, rudders or propeller shaft for the engine.
Turns out there’s a large amount of fishing net from when we ran into a net coming out of Qingdao. It’s wrapped around the prop shaft and is stopping the propeller from folding up properly when the engine is turned off. The prop folds backwards so effectively this means that we have a nice sea anchor under the boat, causing drag which in turns slows us down.
We all reckon that this is also why GB is not doing as well as they usually do – they also had a couple of run-ins with fishing nets in the Yellow Sea. Hopefully we – and GB – will be able to get a diver down in Panama to have a look, since one wasn’t available in Seattle.
Otherwise we are going to have to try and figure something out ourselves; none of us want to start the next race with such a huge handicap.
Love and hugs to you and I’m sending lots of healing energy your way (Probably why I’m so tired – nothing to do with the heat!).
Guest Blog by Valerie Saint-Pierre.