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Kite up, kite down, woolling – Hummingbird settles into the routine of down wind sailing

Posted in : Hummingbird

Since our last blog we’ve been busy! The kite kept us entertained all day as we learnt to trim and steer by it, without the dreaded threat of a wrap – which we didn’t even come close to the whole time. Eventually though the sun began to set and we had to drop it. Another time we might have felt we could happily fly it at night, but the generator alternator belts were in need of changing and would keep skipper Nigel and mate Holly down below with tools in their hands for a little while. So the decision was made to err on the side of caution and drop the spinnaker before it got dark, and replace it with the poled out Yankee 2 once more. I seriously wish I’d filmed the drop, because it was total perfection. And the wooling! The wooling was a dream, despite feeling like we were packing the kite away in a well stoked sauna in the middle of the desert. Let’s call it detoxifying. Later in the night the wind scarpered, and the engine had to go on to help us make progress towards Jamaica. The seas turned to glass and the skies cloudless, and as our remaining suncream was slathered on we had a session on the theory behind celestial navigation and specifically noon sights. The rest of the afternoon passed lazily to the drone of the engine, until after a killer bean chilli with sweet potato wedges we escaped the lull and broke out into the ‘acceleration zone’ west of Haiti. Since then a fresh force 4-5 just forward of the beam has been carrying us, requiring just one reef upon Watch leader Clive’s request to make helming a little lighter. The upwind feeling brings a refreshing change to the whole journey. Its brilliant to be racing the last few miles towards Jamaica at 8+ knots! See you in a few hours, land side, fresh from the shower with a pre-refrigerated beer in hand.