Land Ho! Mexico!

Written on day five
This morning we caught sight of high mountains through haze – Mexico! We are sailing in beautiful conditions – the sky blue, the sun golden, and the sea a proper sea green, with fronds and sprays of drifting bronze and brown kelp scattered over it. Some of the seaweed was clumped together in floating islands, populated by roosting seabirds, and more gulls, terns, and petrels filled the air, many of them quite vocal in their squabbles. THe kelp was not ideal for us,as there was so much it was impossible to avoid it all. THat led to me hanging on to Meg’s ankles as she leant over the stern with a knife, trying to hack fronds and stalks clear of our rudders.
It does not help that we currently have a piece of spinnaker sheet jammed under the boat somewhere – early on it was ont he rudders, making steering difficult and creating a lot of noise against the hulls. Now the rudders are clear, but we are travelling too fast to see what it is caught on under the boat – whether it is the keel or the propshaft. we just don’t know, ANd how did it get there, you may ask? Well, this wonderful downwind racing means a lot of spinnaker gybes. Last night a t midnight a was peacefully writing up the log, deputizing for Ryan and Chris the nav assistants, who were both on mother duty. I knew they were gyning up on deck. but with both watches up they didn’t need me. There was suddenly a series of horrible heeling lurches and a lot of noise and shouting. I didn’t know what was actually happening, but I was pretty sure it was more like Armageddon than a normal gybe. I’m told that the kite got stuck on its way around, then we hit a gust and broached so it was dragged against the rigging before eventually coming past the forestay – and in all the excitement the old sheet went over board and got trapped under the boat.
After the gybe, the crew on deck could see a small tear in the kite against the night sky, so word came down to set up the sewing machine. THere was a delay dousing as the lazy sheet, under the boat, was not available for the letter box, but eventually the kite came down, and sure enough, 7 new tears and scratches in our beautiful, newly repaired, A2. It was nothing too serious, but Nick and I still had 4 hours of taping and sewing to do before it could be rehoisted.
In short, not ideal for our run to the scoring gate. But we are having gorgeous sailing – it’s warm but not hot yet, it’s still dry, and we are romping down wind with little surfs to add to our speed, Dolphins have obligingly continued to visit, almost as regularly as they did in the Atlantic. The trick for me is just to make sure the racing doesn’t spoil this perfect sailing. One of our new joiners took a bit of a tumble today when the sheet we were tugging on sprang up during a gybe – fortunately nothing too serious, but it’s a reminder that our goal is to sail safe, sail fast, and have fun.

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