Last night started with a good bit of moonlight and ended with some tough reaching in pitch black conditions and confused swells, the boat blasting through swells at a solid ten knots, occasionally getting tossed way off course by a big wave. We saw our first ship shortly before sunrise, a bulk freighter headed across our route to Panama; it crossed about a mile behind us. The wind veered enough in the morning to think about hoisting a spinnaker several times, but always piped up enough to douse that idea. After a couple hours of this, things seemed to settle, and we took in the second reef and put up the fractional A5. It took us about an hour to get the boat back under control, with a couple serious round-ups. The boat’s rudder is a little undersized, and every ten minutes or so a train of waves will come by that knocks the bow up and the stern down, and we go for a broach with the helm unable to respond. After 8 hours of this it seems like we’ve become a pretty well-trained team, easing the spinnaker sheets and steering down in anticipation to keep the boat from wiping out. Hopefully we can keep this up in the dark too!

The Santa Cruz 50s have all taken off and we’re doing our best to keep up with them. We’ve made 225 miles made good in the last 24 hours. Things are finally drier and warmer today although the boat is still quite damp down below (there are reports of rain in Tom’s berth). Sailing with a spinnaker up 43 hours into the race is a very nice treat!

Elusive at N33 34 W130 25