- Maxi Spindrift 2
Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people affected by the tragedy in Nice.
On board blog Dona Bertarelli
02:30 GMT - Day 2
In the first 24 hours of racing we have covered no more than 260 nautical miles, averaging a little over 10 knots. Not great when we were expecting forecasted stable strong winds for this section of the route. Once again, we are sailing in Lemanique* conditions - in light to no wind - slowing down and then speeding up again, gybe after gybe, constantly changing the sails and all the time playing French elastic with our friends on Oman Sail, the other boat in our class.
Night will fall in a few hours and we are now sailing at about 15 knots and are close to the Cap de la Madeleine on the Gaspésie peninsula. The water temperature has dropped from 16 to 12 degrees in the last few hours and we begin to feel the cold. Still bearable but brings back good memories. We have our hats and thermals ready for what is promising to be a cold night.
In the space of half an hour we have seen two whales. Canada has created a highly specialised protection programme for the 13 species of cetaceans that can be found in the waters of the north west Atlantic and the St Lawrence. There is a marked protected area for the beluga whale, where we are not allowed to sail faster than 25knots. We need to report any sightings of whales and an emergency network operates across Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Prince Edward Island.
But as I write, there is a large area of squalls several miles wide, dark and interspersed with lighting, approaching at high speed from behind. In an instant we went from 15 knots of wind at 150º to 41knots at 310º! Quickly we get organised. Yann takes the helm, and the rest of us to our positions ready to react on the winches. We quickly reef the main, set the staysail and wait it out all the while remaining really vigilant. It is double punishment for the helms, because not only a cold heavy rain just started but as always after a squall, there is no more wind and we are creeping slowly at 1.5knots. It won't last. Strong but unstable winds are expected for the next few hours - the night will be long and complicated.
* Reference to the Lac Leman in Switzerland, famous for its unstable and often light wind conditions
08:00 GMT - Spindrift 2 Position
Speed : 11,6 kts
DTF : 2 547,2 nm
Speed (last four hours) : 9,9 kts
Cap : 135°