Daily hero – Elyse for cooking Spaghetti Bolognese in 40 knots true wind. Pete for hitting 20.3 knots.
Crew aboard – Christian (Skipper), Pete (First Mate), Louise, George, Tristan, Florence & Elyse
After 6 very busy days getting Quokka ready to leave, all crew were excited to be the second yacht in the race fleet across the line at 1245UTC. Grey skies and strong winds were the order at the start. Nearly all yachts in race division headed off under 2 sails on a reach away from Las Palmas. After about 2 hours we were able to bear away and pole out the headsail. This enabled us to be able to sail downwind efficiently and make a course South of Gran Canaria. By about 1600 the wind was blowing 30-35 knots in the acceleration zone so we put one reef in the main. The dacron cruising main reef 1 is like a reef 2 in a racing main so we were felling fairly comfortable. Fairly shortly after putting in the reef we were in 40 knots of breeze with a fairly steep short sea which made for some exciting, albeit difficult sailing. Louise had managed to shatter the previous 16 knot speed record when she hit a top speed of 18.3 knots – much to her delighted. Unfortunately her delight was short lived as partner Pete hit 20.3 knots about an hour later.
The wind dropped gradually as predicted as we sailed away from the Islands and acceleration zone and by midnight we had a nice 25 knot NE trade wind. We shook out the reef and got back up to speed with an almost full moon illuminating our path across the ocean. Extremely bright stars and few Dolphins on the bow made our first night extremely nice and with the sea state calming we even managed some sleep.
By daylight at around 0700, conditions had improved further and we were sailing along in 15-25 knots with a poled out headsail making good speed again. The smell of hot baguettes wafting from down below and the promise of warmer weather ahead as we all shed a layer.
All in all a good start with all crew settled onboard and a whopping 228nm covered with a top speed of over 20 knots and dolphins to boot. I think it’s fair to say that at this point, all hands are happy and we are merrily headed towards St Lucia at pretty good speed.
That’s it for now, look forward to updating you all tomorrow.