10 May – update from Jeremy enroute to the start of the race


We crossed over to 000°01W an hour or so ago! No looking back now. I’m about two days out of St Helena but will most likely just sail on by? It’s tempting to go ashore and see how things have changed since I was last there in 2010 but maybe it’s better to remember the island as it was then? Then there is always the opportunity to catch up with some wonderful people and great raconteurs like Paul Ellick who crewed on a delivery I did from St Helena to Cape Town, via Port Nolloth and Laaiplek, who has invited me for a beer in the anchorage below Jamestown but the timing will have to be right. I don’t want to have to check in with all the formalities etc, just for a beer! But he also has some pretty good stories so, I don’t know. Life on board has been pleasingly monotonous. The SE trades blow 15-20 knots in the day swinging slightly to the E (just enough to warrant a gybe) and then at the night they blow 18-25 and swing slightly to the S, just enough to warrant a gybe back and possibly a reef in the mainsail, depending on how much one values a good night’s sleep?

Last night I left full sail up and just did the 02h30 gybe. I didn’t sleep quite as well but was rewarded with my best dawn to dawn run of 170 miles. Then I smack myself on the back of the head and remind myself that the race hasn’t started yet and I will need these sails to be in good condition for many miles to go yet! Speaking of sails, I have one weakness in my sail wardrobe and that is my roller furling genoa. It is a well-cut sail and has held its shape incredibly well considering that Are used it in the buildup to the 2018 race and as far as Cape Town. But it’s getting a bit fragile and I started putting small patches on it the other day. And then up steps an old sailing mate of mine, Barry Kennedy, just before he heads off on his boat from the East Coast of the USA towards the Pacific, and he gifts me a brand new sail! I was speechless for once in my life. The sail is being manufactured abroad and will be shipped to the UK for me to collect when I get there in June! This is a game-changer for me and I feel I can face the better-funded campaigns on a more even footing. Thanks Barry, safe sailing to Galapagos and enjoy your break.

It’s quite weird being so out of touch with our hyper-connected world again. I pick up BBC World Service in the early mornings out of São Tomé and again in the late afternoon out of Ascension Island. I do this mainly to check that my timepieces are accurate. I’m trying to imagine how much the world will change without me knowing about it when I’m on the actual race? Anyway, looks like it’s time for my morning gybe!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: