Québec to St-Malo – BD Update – Day 5

Sorry it’s been a day or so since I’ve been able to get out an email. The last 36 hours have been busy and wet.

Started out yesterday (Thursday) early morning 4am’ish coming out on watch to rain, 15 knot winds and thick fog – terrible driving conditions and for the most part the only thing happy were the birds flying around. Then later that morning came strong winds and 6-8 foot seas that resembled a washing machine. This was most uncomfortable for about 5 hours. The wind then picked up and with spinnaker flying, we were finally moving well again, so well that we had to switch to the reaching kite and were off in 30 knots of breeze, heading straight for the Saint-Pierre Island which we had to round at 20+ boat speed.

Getting to the island, the wind lightened and we went forward to a jib reach were we were greeted with mild conditions and about 5 hours of flat seas – not to mention the sight of Mare, EDF and Jack in the Box.

We haven’t been able to get position reports, so seeing them brightened our spirits, cause as any sailor will tell you when you’re floundering around just trying to keep the boat moving, you can’t help think everyone else is leaving you in the dust.

After the island and with the spinnaker flying, dusk soon approached and along with a sudden increase in wind speed up to 35 knots, the A4 kite that we were flying, is as the book would say – good up to 24 knots. We were overpowered and doing everything we could to keep the boat under the kite, and not wipe out.  Emma did an awesome job of keeping the worst from happening, while somewhere in the process, hitting 23 knots of boat speed.

With Dave and I on the bow, it took everything we had to get the spinnaker snuffed and down, which we did with no issue other than my  memory of those set-to-failure workouts we used to do at Michigan, that until you were really used to them would drive you to the locker room puking your brains out from exhaustion. That was me 5 minutes afterwards – but in general now, feeling  just fine.

We throttled back some last night in order to recharge our personal batteries and recover from the hardest 600 miles any of us had ever sailed, mentally and physically.

We’re now sailing under the A4 downwind spinnaker in sunny 65 degree temperatures and 15- 18 knots of wind.  What a difference a day makes. There’s not another boat in sight. We know we lost some distance, but are confident we’ll make it back now that we can let Bo Dream run. We know she’s fast.

Tactically up until now, this has been a lot like the long distance races we do in the Great Lakes, 50 to 300 mile legs where you have to pick a side, deal with one wind change or weather system.  Now with 2300 miles in front of us, this is a new game tactically. Long term decisions aside, for now we’ll be sailing mostly a rum line course, in beautiful sailing conditions.

- Matt, Emma, Mark and Dave

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