The wind went from 30 knots and howling, to almost nothing at all. It also moved more west with a 40% shift. This happened not long after I talked with Peter Cook, Chairman of the ATLANTIC Youth Trust. It was our first contact since he came to support us at the start with his son Shane. "It was the most exciting events I was ever at" says Peter - I also though it unbelievable the intensity, interest and passion of the French public towards the event.
And so in the cold and dark, 380 turns of the winch pedestal later, with success we shook the reef out of the mainsail. Then, after flopping around for a bit, I had a hot pot of porridge with lots of raisins and nuts. The wind then eventually filled in at 14 knots. We are moving again.. T'is almost bliss.
Without the ability to deploy either of our two asymmetrical downwind sails, the A3 and the A7 we must rely on the Blast Reacher - so its tougher to make ground dead downwind, as is the case now. You must always sail at an angle, whether upwind or downwind for optimum performance.
The A3 and A7 problem is with the halyards, they are wound up in the broken lazy jack lines (ones that hold the boom up) which broke on a gibe. This can be solved on a light day and a climb of the mast, which I am not in a rush to do!
From talking with Peter and limited reports, living in this little "cocoon", and 60 feet of carbon, and driving forward 24 7, I am quite taken aback and honoured by the interest in our progress. We even talked to Ryan Tubridy on steam radio Thursday morning. He has kindly taken a personal interest and even came sailing on Kilcullen on Dublin Bay during preparations
Boosted by the Late Late Show, the schools programme is firing imaginations of a lot of kids. It is linked closely with the Atlantic Youth Trust's mission to connect youth with the ocean, adventure and challenge.
This makes it all very worthwhile and in particular I thanks MSL Mercedes-Benz for supporting it and the 240,000 world maps distributed free with the SundayIndependent. Also Supermacs, P&O Maritime, Raglan Capital, Richard Cullen & Family, Voxpro and many more are to be thanks.
The questions, feedback and fascination of the kids is fantastic. And while designed for primary schools in the formative 8 to 12-year category approx., I copy this email from Kevin Cronin in Bunclody.
"Hi Enda, the first and second years of Bunclody Vocational College have followed you closely since 13:02 on 6/11/16. We are cheering you on and wishing you all the best. Your race is full of the most exciting Maths, Technology, Science and Geography. Not to mention heroism and human endeavour. We have dedicated a full notice board to your race and pin up daily progress reports and chart updates. You are also our main focus for Science Week (this week!). Hope we can stay in touch and that it's not a problem us not being a Primary School."
Thanks Kevin. Unfortunately, it is hard for me to respond to all, the most I can do is sail merrily along and do the best we can from the carnage to finish the race. Our boat is 10 years old, let alone qualify to start, we did not expect to be 15th out of 29 starters at this point but you never know and the harder we try the luckier we become.
Other than Log and the odd video - it's impossible for me to engage with the great questions. Here we thank Neil O'Hagan for driving this, he knows more anyway and can come to me with the tricky ones.
One such tricky one was from a child who wrote to ask "why did I tell fibs about my Atlantic crossing the inflatable" He said his dad said that I made it up.!! Now thats clever. Perhaps I did? However it's very hard to deny the photographic evidence and hopefully the child will not grow up as cynical - though a dose of healthy scepticism is no harm at all!
Finally, for all gathered at Howth today for the Christmas charity lunch, with Marcus Hutchinson our project director as guest speaker, I wish you well. Also, Kieran Jameson (sailmaker for our Minitransat Race many years ago) should be thanked for the three bottles, for emptying at Cape Hope, Leewin and Horn.
We're on mission.
Southern Ocean Residents Association