WORRIES, TROUBLES AND AN EPIC FINAL SPRINT TO COME
More damage has slowed down the giant trimaran, IDEC's progress during the night. This time it was the staysail stay that paid the price of the repeated slamming into the swell.
"The sail went flying everywhere," explained Francis, "There was incident after incident, with a broken block, which caused a hole in the deck... I had to get the tool box back out and put some resin on it, repair the deck and recuperate my sail..." 27, 28 knots of wind coming straight at us in some tricky seas really shook up IDEC throughout the night. At daybreak, the wind shifted more clearly towards the east. More than ever in record mode, Francis hoisted some more canvas and soon as the wind eased off slightly, let out a reef and hoisted his staysail instead of his stormsail. "I still can't really play around with the staysail, admitted Francis, as the furler drum is broken.. I didn't get much rest as the boat was being banged around so much".
Obsessed by the fragility of his mast, Francis remains focussed on his trajectory and the timing required to hop on to the weather systems coming up ahead. This 53rd day of sailing should offer him a little respite with some cleaner seas and a more favourable wind angle.
Less than 36 hours ahead of his bows, he can see the Azores high coming up. IDEC will leave this to starboard, in order to reach the south south westerly flow, requiring a gybe. Francis will by then have taken advantage of the calm close to the centre of the high-pressure area to go back up the mast once again; "I'll make the most of it to check out the movement of the spindle, which holds the shroud in place," he explained. "I think I'll jam it in place by hammering it. Then, I'll wrap a bandage around the mast. I have already put up a halyard to add support to the starboard shroud."
Having done everything within his power, Francis will then be on the home run, the final sprint that with the 40-45 knot winds that are forecast looks like being an epic end to the voyage.
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