My girlfriend Annie is a world class sailor, she and her husband have recently finished first in the catamaran division on their Catana 47 El Gato crossing the Atlantic in the Arc race.  4th overall.  What can I say but Totally Awe Inspiring!

So when Annie speaks or offers hard won knowledge we listen.

Annie’s advice to us was to drop our main and get our Gennaker and Genoa working in tandem or at least try getting the main down.  Then when the wind drops to get our spinnaker up ASAP.  Until last night we hadn’t taken her advice as the Captain was happy with current state of play, one reef main up with day support from the Gennaker.  The wind had not left the 25 knot range hence the status quo.

Last night our sail plan changed in a dramatic way.

However before I get to the main act, I need to tell you about the WHALE!

Can You Believe!  We had a whale come to play for a full 90 minutes.  Time and time again she would zoom past on the starboard side, dive under the boat, twist, turn flip or surface.  With a flick of her tail she would move deep to swim under the boat and then back along the port side to do it all again, 90 minutes of look at me whilst I look at you.  At the end 4 big breaches out of the water as her final act of the day.  What a star.  What a show.  What a whale of a time we had. (This is a Captains joke)


The good times continued when Captain and I made pasta and lasagne for dinner which according to the crew had wow factor as well.  (When I say we are eating well on the boat I tell no lie.)

My watch 6 to 9pm and the Captains at 9 to 12am passed without incident and we both went to bed bone weary, an accumulation of too many days of not enough continuous deep sleep.  It was starting to take effect.  This is probably why when Carol was shouting down to the Captain to come up he did not stir.  She shouted 4 times before she went downstairs with a torch and shone it into the bedroom.  Now here is the first kicker, as told by the Captain.  Carole’s words were, excuse me Gary but can you please come up, the main has come down.  Swiss politeness even when the main sail has fallen down.  Take note children.

According to Captain Underpants it was after some rain and 30 knot wind when things started to settle down again.  Without warning, or even much noise the main sail came down like a black curtain at the end of a stage show.  As if our main said that’s all folks, thanks very much my job here is done.

This by the way is the third time in only a matter of weeks that our sail has come down of its own accord.  This time the culprit was the rope connecting the sail to the main halyard.  Made out of dyanema which the Captain delights in telling us, is as strong as steel.  Didn’t matter how strong it was, last night it was the Atlantic 3 boat 0 on the main sail score.  The Captain suggested that next morning “someone” could go up the mast to bring the main haylard down to repair as we have a spare rope purpose made.  Nope, no hands raised, someone wasn’t present.

So at three am in the morning there was all kinds of ideas and discussions coming from the Captain on how to press on.  He discussed back of the boom, boom pushed out, blocker, jam and this rope here or there.  Simplicity won the day and the Genoa out wide using the gennaker pulley was the best solution.  Cheers to clever Captain Carole.

Incredibly just using our gennaker we have not lost speed in fact have gained a little on our hourly average.  It is right about now Annie can say, I told you so.  Hand steering also continues.  By the time we get to the Bahamas all four of us will be expert downwind sailors – that’s saying something when you put my name in the mix!!

This will be one day of the trip we will not forget, for all the right and wrong reasons.

So the good ship Miss Catana continues.  We have now entered day 9 at 12.45 pm this afternoon.  As I write we have 507 nautical miles to go. Whoo Hoo!!

Based on our pre departure calculations victory at local time Barbados needs to be

Gael – 11days 23 hrs – 07.01.16 – 08h45
Gaz – 12days 7hrs. – 07.01.16 – 16h45
Reet- 12days21hrs. – 08.01.16 – 06h45
Carole – 13days2hrs. –08.01.16 – 11h45

None of us want Carole to win, including Captain Carole.

Cheers the Miss

PS since starting this piece we have moved to goose winging with both front sails.  Going faster and more stable.  Yeah Baby now that’s what I’m talking about.

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