by Joe Harris
GryphonSolo2's Joe Harris updates us on the light wind progress in the Atlantic Cup and the approach to Delaware Bay.
GryphonSolo2 - 2014 Atlantic Cup
We are once again ghosting along in light winds just off the entrance to Delaware Bay, with about 144 miles to go to the finish line. We had a pretty good night and gained back five miles of the deficit on Dragon and Pleaid, but we are still behind by 13 miles and it is tough to make up ground when the wind goes so light. We really need the two leaders to fall into a wind hole while we keep our wind in order to mount a real comeback. With these fluky conditions, anything could happen.
On board things are pretty good, although we are a bit short on both water and diesel so are in conservation mode on both. We are trying to hand steer as much as possible to avoid the power consumption of the auto-pilot, and limit the use of the computer to navigating and communicating only when truly necessary. I find it much more difficult mentally to stay engaged when the wind goes light- for me, I get pumped by the big air conditions and I think the boat revels in it as well. In the light stuff, the wide body and large amount of wetted surface of the boat creates drag, so we have been discussing ways to heel the boat over to have less surface in the water. One way would be to add water ballast to leeward (the low side) to induce heel, but this also adds weight, which is the enemy in light air. A bit of a conundrum. More experimentation needed, or better yet, more wind!
Mentally it is easy to get down when you fall behind, but like in any sports competition, you have to keep fighting to the final whistle. And it could be a while (another 28 hours?) until the final whistle at the 4-5 knot rate of speed we are travelling!
This is beginning to feel like more of a marathon than a sprint, so we have to focus on the basics - stay hydrated, fed and rested - continue to work the boat for maximum boat speed - pray to the wind gods for Mercy!!