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Sir Robin’s Route du Rhum - Friday 14th

Friday, November 14, 2014

In distance only, we crossed the halfway mark yesterday after 11.5 days.

Not exactly record breaking for most of the fleet as the Azores High Pressure system moved south after the big boys had passed through and has slowed us all down.

The fun in the Rhum Class is that it is like the OSTAR used to be, made up of boats of all types and sizes that do not fit into the other classes like the Class 40's. It is the class where the less heavily sponsored can have a go at a sensible cost and so helps to provide a step on the ladder for a young sailor to gain a reputation in trans-oceanic racing. Of the 20 boats that started in the Rhum class, Anne Caseneuve has the class wrapped up.She has sailed an intelligent race and sailed hard. After her it becomes more open.

The boat I have been tilting against for the past week is Groupe Berto, a multihull sailed by Jean-Paul Froc. I have watched and admired his tactics. He can outpoint me and also sail further off the wind whereas I seem to have a very slight advantage on a broad reach. OK I have taken the lead by a few miles today, but that lead is vulnerable and the race is far from finished. Between us and Anne are two others who must feel us breathing down their necks.

Looking at the mainsail last evening, and its coming up for nearly two weeks solid use, this new Challenge cloth seems to hold its shape very well. No sign of stretch anywhere.

Whilst just checking the aft ballast tanks are empty, there always seems to be a slight seepage into them from the intakes, and out in the stream of water popped a small pink crab.It must have grown from a cell in there.

It had survived the pump, but where it has gone now is anyone's guess.It must have had a shock seeing daylight for the first time.

Good material for nightmares though - what lurks in the ballast tanks?

Another beautiful night for star gazing.Ursa Major came into view late on, but Polaris was easily found from Cassiopea's Chair.Polaris now some24 degrees above the horizon, the same as our latitude of course

RKJ

Hyde Sails Ltd, Harbour Building Office A, Hamble Point Marina, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4NB

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