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Big seas in the TJV as the fleet dive south
Andreas Hanakamp, segelwelt.at 2013

Below is the latest blog from Andreas Hanakamp, racing onboard the Humphreys designed Class 40 ‘Vaquita’ in the Transat Jacques Vabre:

 Still blasting south, the Azores High has a tight grip on the whole fleet and is testing everyone’s boat, stamina and sailing skills. For a brief period it was lighter and we considered some larger sails. Seems the thought was enough to switch the breeze back on. Seas are still going high with some underlying swell from the north, making it very confused. The boat is bouncing around, nose diving and lifted off a crest to land hard. The noise inside is deafening at times, at least not as bad as inside a carbon shell.
The level of sailing amongst the fleet is impressive. All boats have similar ideas on where to position themselves, the subtle differences on the lanes chosen might be an indication that navigators not just follow their routing software. We are happy to have managed to get in a lane west of the main pack,  west is best, we believe.
Halvard an Miranda on Campagne did an impressive job over the last 36 hours, constantly climbing the leaderboard to settle in 4th position. They probably have  a suitable sail for the conditions, however it is coming down to their skills, routine and knowledge of the boat they sail.
We had our moments last night, when the pilot disengaged  two times for some unknown reason. The boat violently rounded up and tacked both times, leaving us flat on the water and the stack submerged. Luckily nothing has been lost overboard. Still these things drain energy, energy you would rather like to use otherwise. Damage control reported broken sailbattens and a leaking rudderbearing. Spare battens are on board, not much to do about the leak but regularly bailing.
Havent been out of my foulies since Finisterre, afraid that the situation might last for another 24 hours.
Cheers
Andreas