Finally Finished

At about 3:1 this afternoon we finished the race – in the end we didn’t catch GB, so second place for us. Yesterday, once they’d passed us and we were sailing again after the mast debacle, we decided to sail on the opposite tack to them, creating some separation. Just following the leader was unlikely to work, especially as their haulout in San Francisco left them with a nice clean bottom, making it hard for us to match their speed in a drag race, let alone beat it.
We had horribly light wind overnight – for about 8 hours we flew the windseeker, and crept along at 1 or 2 knots. By morning we could see Garmin and Jamaica on AIS, sailing much faster than us. We expected them to bring their new stronger breeze right to us, and were ready to raise the A1 and take advantage of it. But instead the wind died for them too, and although we had a couple of periods with the A1 up, it was mostly a windseeker day. We had no idea where GB were, except that they were somewhere off to leeward, and early on, not far ahead at all. We hoped that the weather would be kind and take all 3 boats – us, Garmin, and Jamaica, ahead of GB. But they must have found better wind. At around 12.3O as we ate lunch we heard Simon -GB skipper – call us in the VHF – Eric elected to finish lunch rather than take the call. Hard as it was to iimagine, it seemed unlikey GB would be callig for any other reason than to tell us they’d finished, and to find out where we were. And sure enough, at the next sched we found that they were first through. We still had a race to the finish, as in the end Jamaica were only 3 miles behind. It was another odd anticlimax, crossing an imaginary line in the middle of a blue ocean. We did a bit of photographing and cheering for CLipper’s records, but a cold beer would have been REALLY appreciated.
Even during the last 24 hours of racing, he Pacific has served up some spectacular sights. As we prepared to gybe under the stars last night, a spectacular green shooting star plunged seaward dead ahead – so bright it made a reflected path on the water. THis morning we had a big whale spouting and swimming at the surface just tens of yards to port. And we saw huge fish, perhaps marlin, leaping, silvery, out of the water, then splahing back in. Dolphins too, swimming alongside much of the night, and passing in their leaping, splashing, feeding frenzies during the day. And to cap it all, Nick caught a fish tonight as we started our convoy with Garmin and Jamaica. We think it is a small yellowfin tuna – it is filleted – not elegantly – and in the icebox ready to be sashimi tomorrow. No more fishy laughter for us.
SO now we’re into our motoring/deep cleaning phase. We don’t know yet if we’re headed to Panama directly, or refuelling in Costa Rica. At least we have split into half watches, so if only we can find a way to be cool enough we will get more sleep. ANd that;s certainly something we need -it’s been an exhausting 48 hours here on HLFIFTYYOPS. Goodnight

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