'Yozuri' (or Phil) is deployed in search of Tuna

154 nm covered in 24hours. Average speed 6.4 Knots
Position at 12:00 UTC 3 December 2009: 16.37N 47.02W

With our beautiful and skilful parasail effortlessly pulling us through the water on a fast yet comfortable ride our attention turned to Fishing. Till now we have had good success with catching Dorado (or Mahi mahi) – even putting a medium fish back to grow and live another day. Each lure is given a name on its maiden deployment. First we had a ‘muppet’ a home-made lure from the finger of a pink rubber glove that succeeded in catching a yacht leading to muppet’s demise. Then ‘Fred’ was deployed catching our first couple of Dorado before being lost. Each of the crew were then allocated their own lure for competitive reasons. Sallyanne’s Blue and White Squid lure ‘Harriet’ has caught just one Dorado so far despite being deployed most days. Mark’s Orange and Yellow tiger lure ‘Marky-mark’ has been the most successful – including landing a large Dorado that fed the whole crew a starter and 2 main meals each! With this success lure ‘Marky-mark’ was sent back to the sea a few days later only to be eaten by a Whale! – At least the bend in the rod combined with the bow wave and large splash seen clearly 50 meters behind the boat had all crew members watching in awe and excitement – and possibly our two fishermen, Mark and Steve, slightly relieved. But alas Marky-mark was gone. On Monday Clare’s red, pink and sparkly squid lure – aptly named ‘Rock Chick’ was deployed. So far no fish – but looks great! Finally, yesterday, Steve’s silver fish lure ‘Yozuri’ (or Phil), a large specialist lure bought as a gift for catching Tuna, was deployed. No sooner than the reel was just half way out Yozuri started fighting! The rod tip bent over and twitched repetitively. Steve found himself working hard to reel it back in. Worryingly, we discovered that it was Yozuri himself diving down to 20 meters or so that put enormous force on the rod – so now we are left wondering if we could actually reel in a large tuna without stopping the boat! Hopefully we shall let you know!


Still our tactics are paying off. The lighter winds yesterday afternoon should be affecting most of the fleet so we hope to hold on to 7th place in Class and make progress towards taking 6th over the next couple of days. We hope that out tactics continue to give us the advantage of slightly stronger winds this far south. We have certainly escaped the squalls and torrential rain reported on the SSB Radio Net by other yachts much further north. Yesterday we were optimistic that we may prove competitive for 5th place and would be absolutely delighted with 4th. However with a few problems yesterday evening and taking the decision not to switch to the light wind ‘Ghost’ spinnaker last night before sundown – instead having to wait till first light this morning – may have cost us the chance of 5th. We shall have to see. Although it must be noted that our Ghost is performing really well – in 11.5kts true and 6.2 apparent we are making between 6 – 6.5kts!!! The skipper is watching the weather forecast carefully in order to take this sail down before the wind picks up later today or tomorrow.

Parasailor problem:

Last night our disgruntled Parasailor starved of wind managed to defeat our home-made guard arrangement rigged to protect her from getting caught under to pulpit or anchor. The guard, comprising of a boat hook lashed to the guard rail, has worked so well to date – being designed to catch the sail as she lowers. Unfortunately with the light winds – we believe a rogue gust of wind must have taken her much further and lower to starboard, attacking the pulpit from underneath rather than from above. The foot of the sail was found to be ripped in one long neat strip the entire width of the sail between both reinforced clews. The strip only 3cms thick and hanging below the sail was captured and made safe last night by placing a shackle around the strip and attaching the shackle to a meter long piece of elastic cord and tying the cord to the foresail. This allowed the strip to continue to move left, right, up and down with the sail – but holding the strip out of danger of being caught again. This arrangement worked well until first light when we could take our Parasailor to the cockpit for sail-tape-surgery. The whole crew have taken turns helping Peter with the repair which has been going on since 11am this morning (5 hours so far). Degree of success will be reported tomorrow!

By Sallyanne (and Crew Peter, Clare, Stephen and Mark)