The wind is still in a state of flux with strength ranges from 0-20 and directional changes over 40 degrees. It'll be nice when a new pattern establishes itself, even if only for a day. One minute the boat's moving brilliantly, sort of in the right direction and the next I get knocked then the wind dies. All the while I'm making very slow progress to the finish line with the competition making steady gains. When I downloaded the noon position report today and saw that every single boat in the fleet made ground on me this morning, it was a tough pill to swallow. I always knew finesse sailing was one of my weaknesses but I've been working on it and hoped for some improvement. Note to self: keep practicing.
The boat systems are generally working well. I had that disastrous day with the head but other than that, everything is holding together well. The boat network gremlins were all chased out in Plymouth with a bunch of rewiring both at the helm instruments and the nav station below so there's been no hiccups with the instrument data or the autopilot. AIS & RTE are working well as early warning systems for approaching ships. My handheld VHF is out of commission for some reason. It comes on but doesn't transmit or receive and for some reason the channel number is blinking on and off which I've never seen before on this unit. I read the entire 56 page manual and there is no reference to the channel number blinking so I have no idea what that signifies. I still have the primary VHF radio at the nav station but when I reach the Grand Banks fishing fleet, it would be nice to have the handheld so I can communicate from deck if any of the trawlers want to tangle with me in close quarters. It's under warranty but that won't help me out here.
I have more than enough food on board so even if my race runs to four weeks, I'll have plenty to eat. The water situation is also very good with about 100 liters in the aft tank and 40 liters in the forward tank, that's enough to get me to the finish line even if the watermaker dies. I'll start running those tanks down a little to lighten up as I go along but still making water every other day to give the desalinator a workout and assure myself it's still producing potable water. The fuel situation is also very good. I've only run the engine once for about an hour prior to the last storm just to make sure it was functioning properly as I tied off the wind turbine for the 30+ knot forecast. The turbine is working brilliantly - very happy with the repairs make in Plymouth, just need to make a minor adjustment to the potentiometer which I'll probably do today as the sea state is down and the adjustment requires that I climb up the turbine mast and hang on with one hand while making the adjustment with the other.
A huge thanks to Nate and Anya for visiting me the week prior to the start and bringing boat parts with them. It was great to have some help in the final days and it's always a pleasure seeing those guys.