Kite took 29th place in the 2022 Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. Greg’s elapsed time for the 3542 nautical miles race from Saint Malo to Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe, is 19 days 7 hours 41 minutes and 50 seconds. 

Kite at the finish
Perhaps the only time we will be surrounded by paparazzi

Saturday, November 26

Today I had my first daytime rain in a long time as there are squalls meandering around and providing some nice wind.  They are not too menacing.  I am really ready to arrive.  The food and drink onboard has lost its allure.  I had the same chicken curry that I had on Thanksgiving, and it wasn’t the same.  I’m actually really not often hungry, but eat because I know rationally it is necessary for energy.    I had a nice chat this evening with Pierre on Legallais.  That makes two radio chats in one day.    235nm to go to tete a l’anglais.  See everyone soon!

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

Happy belated Thanksgiving! All is well onboard Kite.  I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends and family, perhaps with lots of turkey and pie. Chicken curry featured as the Thanksgiving meal here. Pies will wait until December. Thank you all for your support and good wishes.

Spinnaker woes have been keeping me busy. I spent most of Thanksgiving sewing the salvageable spinnaker back together. Unfortunately, the spinnaker repair from Wednesday to Friday didn’t hold long.  The tear was directly across the main load of the sail, and I simply didn’t have the right materials on board any longer.  I was able to get the sail down and stowed away and we are back running under our code 5 fractional reaching sail at about 3-4 knots slower than our targets.  Now it is a game of grinding away the miles and gybing when there are shifts that make the angles slightly better.  I am definitely looking forward to being in Guadeloupe!

Making miles to Guadeloupe

Smooth sailing on November 22

It is sunny here. The night was good. We had a squall at 4 am and a wipeout. I was sleeping but jumped up and sorted it out. I saw 34 knots, so I was a little surprised we rounded up with the code 5 up, but maybe it was a wave.

I gybed a little while after that. I did a check before gybing and realized that the spinnaker tack line had freed itself at the bow and then around the sprit and code 5 furling line and down to the bobstay at the water. It was a firehouse up there as I sorted it out with the boat hook for about half an hour. Yuk! Otherwise, the gybe and stacking went well. Wow, it takes a while on your own.

We crossed a Hanse 588 the morning on this way to the Caribbean and had a nice chat.

The solar panels are working well during the day, and I use the engine for half an hour a bit after sunrise to lure the fuel cell into shutting down. The combination is working well as I have a lot of flexibility on when to use the engine.

Breakfast this morning was a mountain house southwestern breakfast hash that had survived all these years. It was a treat, in a relative sense. I double-checked the expiration date and found it to be 2047!

November 21

It has been a wonderfully unexciting day here.  Parts have had winds in the low 20s, others in the upper 20s.  The seas have not built as much as I might have expected given the winds so while there is a bit of surfing, it isn’t rough.  The boat is loud, however, with the singing hum of speed.  The sun was out all day, and it is delightfully warm. 

The code 5/mule is working well.  I tried the staysail inside, but it destabilized the mule too much and didn’t seem faster on average.  Otherwise, there are the usual boat checks and a few small tweaks here and there. 

Fun and fast sailing. 

More spin tales on Sunday

Today was a day for making miles and we did a good job of that for most of the day under the fractional spinnaker.  In the evening, there were squalls, but none really strong or out of the wind range for the spinnaker.  The radar tracks them well.  Still, the tack decided it wanted a separation from the body of the spinnaker.  Of course, with the sail not connected at the tack, it spun around the sock down lines and thus wanted the extra attention of a traditional takedown.  With that sorted, we are back to making good miles with the Code 5, aka the mule.  Here's hoping the trade winds stay strong.

Spinning out on Saturday

So, two nights ago, when setting the A2 (spinnaker), the tack zipper didn’t open. It ripped the sail from just about the tack to about 10′ high. I spent most of Friday sewing it. It went back up Friday night. I was really happy with the repair.

It held all night and into the morning. Then, this morning there was a bit of a squall and a little wipeout. Nothing really notable on the scale of things. However, the halyard broke at the clutch and the whole sail ended up under the boat with lines everywhere. Two hours later, I had it onboard in 6 pieces. I was lucky not to damage the rudders or anything else. It took another while to clean up the mess and recover a bit.

Then, to add a bit more adventure, when hoisting the fractional spin, the 2 to 1 halyard spun, twisted, and knotted itself. It wouldn’t come down. Fortunately it was just a few feet over the radar dome when I noticed it, but I got to do my first solo mast climb. The frac spin is up now and it is the right sail.

The brochure didn’t say it would be easy…

The wind is in the low 20s and we are making fast miles to Guadeloupe. It is loud down below. All is well on Kite.

Wednesday, November 16

Tonight is the first truly starry sky of the passage.  On our port side, in the evening, Orion watches over us as an old friend from many other winter passages.  There is still no moon up, so it really is spectacular.

The start of the second week of the race was a clement day.  The seas are relatively flat and the wind between 12 and 18 knots which means adjustments to ballast, but no sail changes.  Tomorrow we should be able to ease the sheets and sail off the wind.  That will be a nice and welcome change!

The French cheese on board is holding up fine as is the chocolate supply.  The main meals of freeze dried food leave a bit to be desired, but we will fix that in Guadeloupe.