The leader is not overly worried. He expects to reconnect with Louis Burton – who is to leeward and working NW – as they reach the south of the Azores. But the final stage seems more complex in a SW’ly wind which needs to be utilised at the best angles.
"The night is beautiful, breezy and starry. Thetrade winds are a little stronger and so and I am taking advantage of that because as of this afternoon I will be coming back under the influence of the high pressure and the wind will start to drop. It’s my last night in the trade winds. I had a fair amount of wind, up to 25 knots which allowed me to make good progress all night because the sea state is not too bad. From where I'm watching, I have a porthole above me and I can see the stars, like when I was little on my bedroom ceiling! It is very beautiful. I can enjoy my sweet dreams.
The wind is veering and so I am getting more and more north. And it has picked up, I have had a good night making good averages all night and that is pretty good for my rest pattern. But I haven't changed my rhythm on board: I'm keeping the same tempo as a week ago or a month ago. I have been working to solar time for my meals since the start of the race but since we started heading north, the difference is less noticeable: in solar time, it is two in the morning (there is a four hour difference with UTC). But what I notice most is the temperature difference: we have left the warm waters and it is starting to cool down a bit. You have to cover yourself up to sleep and the nights are much longer.
The wind will start to drop seriously at the end of the day and tonight will be very different from this night. We're getting closer to the transition to the train of lows. Two more days before we find ourselves north of the ridge and then we get into the downwind. This is now an area that I know well, but mainly from North to South. This is only the second time that I have made this trip and the first time in race mode as the other was the return delivery after the Transat Jacques Vabre. But I had stopped at Peter's (Horta)! Which I won’t do this time, even though I love these islands ...
I chose the inside of the curve and we'll see how it compares to Louis (Burton) who went round the outside. But I think we will end up together at the Azores: the routings are becoming more and more precise and theoretically, I will arrive at Les Sables d'Olonne between January 27 and 28. But we will have to do a series of gybes and sail changes: there will still be work to do before the finish and we will have to manage the fronts.
Since we went through the doldrums, here we are coming out of a phase where we had to manage the curve with few maneuvers and few strategic choices, but here we are entering the period where we will have to time your gybes right, set the right sailplan, managing the fronts, control your competitors and monitor maritime traffic. So you will have to be in good shape, as rested as possible or as less tired as possible! So be lucid. "
Charlie Dalin / Apivia