TWD - 180 degrees. South for the degree challenged and shifty TWS - 18 to 23 TWA - it's about 80 degrees BSP - 10 to 11 knots
It's game-on out here and we are showing a clean pair of heels. The first six boats started this morning at 1100 in a fresh breeze and bit of sun peeking out between clouds. Dragon loitered south of the committee boat with main loose and out, killing time. At 4 minutes to the start we unrolled the solent and turned deep down wind, paralleling the start line and rolling down to the start boat. The rest of the boats had politely left the front of the start box open and we had a free shot at hardening up past the committee boat to cross the line at the gun making polars and 2 boats in front of the closest competition.
With early breeze in the low 20s and a broad reach, we stuck with the solent in the outboard lead and it has paid some nice dividends. We kept in the low and to the east of the front that seemed to swallow up our competition and held the southerly breeze as a result.
The first mark of the course is Great Issac, and in the prior editions I have never seen it in the light of day. This time... crushed it. We passed Issac in 4.5 hours, and are on pace to get past Stirrup Cay around midnight. We are aiming for arrival at Eleuthra around dawn, almost a half day earlier than past efforts.
It's mostly because the wind has allowed us to reach across the Bahamas instead of the usual beat. Shorter distances traveled and higher speeds, but it also means we will be beating when we round at Eleuthera. One hand gives, the other one takes.
In the mean time, we are trying to get as far as possible as fast as possible before the wind runs out sometime Tuesday. 3 hours overlapping shifts. Is making for some good helming and all is well out here. We are the fox, chased by 5 hounds. Tomorrow they set loose 6 even faster hounds, and we expect an accordion when the wind dies with the back of the fleet sailing up into the front. Every inch counts.