Just trucking along

When I left you we were having a steady day under white sails, after watching Qingdao sail off into the dawn. We attempted to kick things into a higher gear later that day, raising the A3 – but after two hours it became just too rumbunctuous, and had to come down at the end of the dog watches. We did cover 29 nautical miles in those 2 hours though – very satisfying progress.
Our clocks are still not keeping up with our eastward progress, so it was once more fully dark as we struggled with the kite in the gusty winds. Unfortunately, the halyard slipped through a nameless person’s hands (howm much is it worth to remain nameless, I wonder?), and was soon swinging around wildly just out of reach. We fetched our improvised boathook (the first was lost in the spinn sheet in the water incident), but by te time we were ready with that the halyard end had crept up to te level of the first spteaders. MOrgan started getting ready to go up the mast to fetch it – by the time he had the climbing harness on it had retreated to the second set of spreaders, and before he was properly attached to the yankee halyards and ready to go, the halyard was lost, out of reach all the way up the mast.
Tat meant another night under white sails – somewhat frustrating, although the helm was actually rather heavy as we were rolled by large seas in complete darkness – we were still getting decent surfs too – the kite would have been quite a handful. At first light the next morning – a grey and watery first light it was – we sent Morgan up the mast to retrieve one spinnaker halyard, and to replace the other (the one that melted when we had the A2 splat some days back), so we now have the luxury of two. THe wind and sea had lightened significantly by then, so up went the A3,and it’s been flying continuously ever since – something like 32 hours now. ANd very nice sailing t’s been, too – steady wind, not too strong, and some really nice surfing, taking us where we want to go. We’ve made some good progress against our competitors too, though as they all come down to the south to join us, it’ll be interesting to see how things play out. It definitely feels as if we have kicked things into gear at last, and we are counting down the miles to the finish at a satisfying rate.
We’ve had fog and hazy sunshine this morning – sometimes the sea and weather seem exactly like Monterey Bay – I’m expecting to see a sea otter clinging to a piece of kelp any minute. We still have albatrosses keeping us company, and we’ve seen a couple of horned puffins – they seem very out of place so far out at sea, but the bird book assures us that is where the non-breeding adults spend their winter.
COnversations aboard are turning more and more to food – what we will eat when we get there. Salads, avacados, of course steak, and pizza are among the favorites right now. We still have over 1300 miles to go, and the ocean sprint to get through – not to mention the predicted wind hole between us and the Golden Gate, but we can dream.

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