It has been an exhausting couple of days. With Rotating Tropical Storm Collin, those high winds did come, with gusts as high as 85 knots! That was around the time we had shaken out the reefs in the mainsail because it looked as though the winds were dropping. Tough work putting the reefs back in! And, having overtaken them with much effort, we lost our lead to Garmin at that point :-(
Matt spent a good chunk of time on the helm. We saw waves about 6 meters high. This boat surfs when off the wind! We touched a boat speed of 30 knots! Where did the waves and swells come from?! With a long stretch of calm weather, I never would have guessed that wind could whip up the ocean surface to such heights in such a short time. I've seen waves crashing on the backs of other waves. Clouds of mist blowing off the tops of giant waves. The colour of pale ice crystal blue was on crests of waves and in great pools of bubbles all around. There were waves pouring over the deck, sometimes washing us this way and that. Double clipping was essential for safety.
As the storm passed and the wind shifted north, we were trying to sail near close hauled, and the boat was heeled at an extreme angle. The toe rails along the edge of the boat were almost constantly under water. It was hard work just to stay planted in one spot on the deck. Not that there was much time for sitting agog at the view. Once the main front of the storm passed, the wind took its time settling into a regular pattern. It stayed high, 20-35 knots, gusting 50-60. During several watches, we were constantly changing sails, going through all the Yankees and every reef, up and down, up and down. And often at night, when it was very hard to see and coordinate efforts, since, despite the clearing skies, there was only a sliver of new moon, so not much light. Hence exhaustion, or near enough, for most of the crew. Tough to sleep with a rocking and rolling very slanted bunk. I was on mother watch for one of the days, so didn't put out the same level of extreme physical effort as the rest of the crew that day. But so as to chip in when extra help as needed on deck, and not to miss the excitement, I did join in for a rather busy night watch. This morning, extra crew were called on deck once the most recent 6 hour schedule came through, showing that we had a solid lead of about 10 miles. So as "not to screw up", the Yankee was taken down 20 miles from the finish line and we worked to preserved our lead. We crossed the finish line in first place, about 30 miles offshore from NYC at about 10:45 this morning with 2 reefs in the mainsail and the Staysail up, and no Yankee sail..