Finishes and finishes

Last night – or early this morning – we sailed through the second potential finish, the Remedios Gate, in first place. Yay! But today, Clipper in their wisdom have decided to end the race at a new finish, just one hundred miles ahead, dead upwind. Booh!
It’s double booh, because just at the time the message came through, we were bobbing with both headsails down, with Eric halfway up the rig untangling halyards because a crew member – nameless so far – who had gone up the rig to untangle halyards had become so twisted around and entangled in said halyards, not to mention exhausted, that we could not lower her down. WHat perfect timing, eh? WIth GB just a few miles behind at the start of the operation, would we even have been worrying about entangled spin halyards if we’d known we only had one hundred upwind miles left to race? Of course not!
So the whole debacle cost us an hour and a half or so – a passing squall meant that we had to sail in te wrong direction too, to keep the boat flat while they were up there exchangiing halyards and reclipping themselves to the climbing harnesses. GB are now a little ahead, and it’s going to be a tense eighty miles or so to the new finish. ANd did I mention, we have also gained one blocked head, probably not fixable until we get to Panama, and a non functioning generator, likely not fixable to Jamaica. All this morning – triple booh.
THe race to the Remedios Gate was dramatic enough. We had a grey upwind day, making steady progress. Yesterday afternoon squalls started to build up, and in the dog watches we found ourselves right in the middle of a huge squall system – it pretty much filled the radar screen with a giant SPLAT of yellow. THere was all the usual tacking, reefing, heaving too, dropping headsails. Just before we got swallowed up, at dusk, we caught sight of a light on our quarter – another CV, which turned out to be GB, a few miles behind us. So we knew the race was on.
It was a beautiful night once the major rain cleared – dolphins visited again and again, and the phosphorescence was dramatic, as were the shooting stars. Just around dawn we had a shooting star leaving a trail across the sky, above a towering cloud that was reaching up to embrace Venus, our bright morning star. ANd a couple of dolphins playing alongside, their shining backs lit up by the first light of morning.
We also had a dolphin feeding frenzy – a huge school dashing along, leaping out of the water making clouds of white spray against the grey sea, while Eric was up the rig. He said they looked amazing from up there, drawing our attention to dolphins rather than the sight of GB sailing by. We’ve also seen dozens of small flouting crabslike things going by – some crew thought they were baby sea turtles, while others said, no a crustacean, like a lobster. So we’re calling them lobtles for now. SO send us good thoughts for toninght, and the next finish. THere’s not going to be much sleeping done around here until this race is over.

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