Last night was a tough night. It was pitch-black, with massive squalls packing cold and dry 28 knot gusts. There was no horizon, with boat-speeds sustained in the high teens. The waves were still there, but you couldn’t see them.
I took the first watch, Richard is passed out recuperating. There’s a huge bang like an explosion, and the boom points up. The vang block just exploded. Richard has it; I continue pushing the boat while he rebuilds a new vang. Ten minutes later he’s done. It’s amazing how good Richard is at fixing things on board. The repair has given us our stability back.
Everything is dark, there’s no horizon and this huge squall hunts us down. I am steering blind, with spray everywhere, the speedometer hits and sustains 23 knots. Richard tells me to “Slow down!” I say, “How do you do that?”. He says, “Just stick the bow into the next wave and sail a bit lower…” We like speed. Then he leaves deck and goes to sleep. I mean, I’m shocked: Richard trusts my steering and managing this rocket-ship more than I trust myself. I’m steering through pitch-black waves, terrorized at what could happen at any moment.
When the next squall hits, I grab a winch handle and start banging on the deck to wake him up. I tell him, “You are coming on deck and sleeping on deck, or you are steering, this is insane”. I found my limit. Too much to lose.
Three hours later, we are pointing right at the finish line. Jupiter is so bright that the planet is dominating the summer night sky. Now that the moon has risen everything seems so much easier.
We survived a difficult night. We’re still racing. We think that at least one of the fully crewed big race boats may have passed us. But we are all in one piece. Tomorrow is another day.