We finally made it round Land’s End in the early hours of yesterday morning. The sunshine and blue skies by the Scilly Islands sadly did not last, and the afternoon was very squally with gusts over 30 knots. Overnight was relatively wet and rough with multiple sail changes and reefs put in and out. Below decks was like being in the spin cycle of a washing machine as the boat lurched and slammed through the waves.
However this morning the sun is out, the sea is blue and we have been making good progress. We have just crossed the line of faster boats coming back from the Rock under spinnaker – hopefully that will be us in a few hours from now!
We have been in sight of Challenger 1 all the way across the Irish Sea, and trying to match them tack for tack. We have just tacked on a windshift halfway through writing this blog, so now we are watching the tracker to see whether Challenger 1 will follow us….
Anna (Watch Leader)
The 15 crew of Challenger 2 are made up mostly of ex-Clipper Round the World crew from the 13-14 race and friends. We have several circumnavigators on board and about half a million nautical miles between us, so by comparison this race is just a short hop for most!
We started at 12:20 from the north end of the start line and headed across towards the stronger tide by the Isle of Wight, and then made our way out of the Solent. The Challengers were in the second to last Division to start so we had the sight of around 300 boats tacking ahead of us towards the Needles and it wasn’t long before the Volvo 65s on the start behind us came flying past. We headed south out of the Needles in lovely sunny weather, but had a frustrating night not making much progress against the tide and wind shifts, but at least we had a few sail changes and putting in and taking out of reefs to keep us busy. We finally made it around Portland Bill in the small hours of the morning, and are now heading for Start Point. We’ve just gone through a rainy but fairly windless squall, however the sun is trying to make and appearance to dry everyone out. The tide will shortly turn in our favour again so we hope to be able to make better progress towards Land’s End this afternoon. The wind is forecast to get lighter today, then fill in from the North West, so it could be a bumpy ride up to the Rock later in the week.
We have stayed in sight of Challenger 1 most of the night, and Challenger 3 & 4 are not too far away to the North East. Morale on board is being kept high by several home baked cakes that the crew have brought along, pods of dolphins, and the promise of a party in Plymouth on Thursday night……