From the Deck of Prospector 19 October 2015 0630Z


A Busy and Productive Overnight

It is a beautiful morning on the Tyrrhenian Sea.  We are abeam of

Palermo and well on our way to Capo St. Vito, which is 40 miles ahead. 

We have covered 84 miles of the leg from Strombolio to Capo St. Vito

since our last post.

It was a busy and productive overnight.  We began the leg in a 10 not

easterly with the A2 up sailing just north of the rhumb line at 9-10

knots boat speed.  As some of us settled down to sleep, the on watch

was kept busy as we progressed through a variety of wind conditions,

each prompting a change in headsail.  First we put up the spinnaker

staysail to add a little horsepower. A short while later the wind shifted

right and built a bit, so down came the A2 and SS and up went our

fractional code zeroor FRO.  As the wind continued to veer right and

drop so we took down the FRO and put up a J1, our light air job.  At

about 4am local, as the watches were changing the wind had built to

13-15 knots out of the southwest.  Overpowered in these conditions we

downshifted changing headsail to our J2.  At 6am, with the wind having

backed and dropped below 10 knots, we changed headsails again

striking the J2 and hoisting the J1. 

For those of you keeping score at home that is A2 to A2/SS to J1 to J2 to

J1.  Four headsail changes in 7 hours.  Just before settling down for the

night we had talked through the wind forecast so we were ready for the

progression of changes in wind speeds and directions.  But, being ready

is one thing.  Shifting gears like that on a dark, nearly moonless night, is

another.  The high spirited and amazingly talented Prospector crew

pulled off each change flawlessly.  As each sail went up the next sail we

thought we would need was readied on deck.  As each sail came down

it was flaked or packed and bagged, ready to go again if necessary.  It all

sounds simple in theory.  In practice it is anything but.  Particularly

when the wind builds and Prospector gets wicked up making just

moving around a major endeavor.  Kudos to our watch captains, Paul

and Tim and our bow men Matt and Stuart, for a flawless performance.

All that work paid off.  We deliberately stayed a bit further north of the

rhumb line than our gang of eight, thinking there would be a bit more

wind further offshore.  That turned out to be a good decision.  Added

together with the stellar crew work we reeled the gang of 8 back in. 

They have been going slower in lighter air trying to work down to our

line throughout the early morning hours.  We have halved their leads

over us.  We have also legged out on the smaller boats behind us,

benefiting from stronger winds and our longer waterline.  We are now

4th in class and 11th in fleet.  Big steps in the right direction.

We are just getting out of what we hope will be the last patch of light

air for the race.  As we reach the northwest corner of Sicily and turn

southeast to Pantellaria we expect the wind to build into the high

teens/low twenties.  Prospector conditions.  Hopefully we can keep

moving up the leaderboards.

Hot late news flash.  While this blog was being written and the crew

finished up their favorite breakfast, freeze dried breakfast skillet a la

Colette, enjoyed on deck in the bright morning sun we got latest sked 

and learned we are now 4th in both IRC2 and IRC overall.  We still have

just over half the race to go, so it is way too early to get too excited

about a result.  But it still feels pretty good.

Game on!

Prospector SailingComment