From The Deck Of Prospector 06 July 2100Z


Knowing When To Blink

That is the hard part of playing chicken.  We blinked twice in the last 18

hours.  When we left off last night we were setting off to the north to

find the southern edge of the big low pressure system bearing down on

us.  We set a waypoint for where we guessed that might be and with an

A5 and full main started sailing towards it.  We were flying down the

track and loving life.  We expected to reach the waypoint and gybe at

approximately 6am.

At 3am, 25 miles to the west of where we were headed the edge of the

low found us.  Paul and Larry had just discussed taking the A5 down if

the wind built to 25. The wind at the time was 20-22knots.  Larry had

just climbed in this bunk when 30-35 knots of wind arrived with no

advance warning.  Way over canvassed all hands jumped on deck and

wrestled the A5 down.  Unfortunately, it didn’t come down in one

piece. The A5 has joined her pal the A6 on the disabled list for the rest

of this voyage.  We are running out of bullets out here.

Recognizing that the low was a lot closer than we thought, we blinked

for the first time and gybed away.  After the gybe we put up our tried

and true double headsail combo of the J4 and Genoa staysail. 

Prospector loves this combo in 25-35 knots with reefs added as we go

up the wind range.  True to form she settled in under the new canvas

and we sailed away from trouble at 13-15 knots boat speed with a flat,

smooth, well balanced yacht. 

We were expecting today to be a challenge as the low hunted us down

from behind.  We were wrong.  We had another amazing day on the

Atlantic.  The sun broke out, the sea squared up behind us and we

surfed along at 12-15 knots in indescribably pleasant sailing conditions.

The ocean was breathtakingly beautiful, changing colors frequently as

we moved from cloudy skies to bright sunshine.  When it was cloudy

the ocean was an ominous slate gray with menacing whitecaps.  As the

sun came out the ocean turned cobalt blue with amazing blue green

whitecaps with rainbows forming in the spray as the waves crested.  It

was an amazing show.

Oh, and the waves built.  They were big square things the size of Mack

trucks that would tower over our stern before lifting it gently, picking

Prospector up and propelling her forward.  Thank, God they were

behind us.  Everyone took turns driving our 60 foot surfboard.  Few of

us could remember having more fun driving a boat.

Just before our delicious Chicken a la King dinner, a big dark squall

appeared on the horizon.  The wind built quickly to over 35 knots.  We

had one reef in and quickly put in a second.  Fortunately, the squall

changed its mind and passed behind us.  In its wake we got lifted as the

wind shifted to the left.  Larry’s around the buoys racing instincts took

over and he started analyzing a gybe to take advantage of the shift. 

Looking at the tracker he was puzzled to see that none of the other

yachts nearby were gybing either.  He dug a bit deeper, played with his

weather files and quickly saw why.  Gybing, while tactically smart,

would bring us back to the edge of the low in 40 knot plus winds. 

Everyone was using the lift to get in to relatively gentler 20-30 know

winds further away from the edge of the big storm system.  We blinked

for the second time and stayed with our wing men to seek relatively

safer sailing conditions.

We are currently settling in to our overnight routine.  Colette is

cleaning up from dinner and leaving a stash of leftovers out for her

raccoons.  The off watch crew is heading to their bunks.  Larry is

working at the Nav table to plan our next move. 


We are sailing fast, gaining ground with each position report and having

a ball. 

We can’t wait to see what new adventures tomorrow will bring