The end of the trade winds

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Just as i write a big rain cloud on the horizon has brought a sudden
windshift, this is the first we encounter since leaving the unstable airs
around the equator and unfortunately it probably signals the end of the
stable band of the trade winds... We have 1350 miles to the finish which
will bring more variety and hard work.

Ahead of us a patch of really light airs which wont fill for another two
days and which has already caused us to slow down and forced Cessna onto
the opposite gybe. This is of course all to Phesheya's advantage, the
longer we'll suffer in this air bubble the more miles they will catch up,
they have at least half a day longer to enjoy the stronger stable trade
winds but they will eventually get to ligher airs and should pay a high
price for the loss of their A2 big spinnaker.

My laptop charts still carry the log of all the races i did so far, i'm
using the same laptop since the 2009 OSTAR in fact and right now i can see
i'm crossing the track i followed on my way to Guadaloupe during the Route
du Rhum 2010. I didnt do very well, just 27th out of 45 boats, i had
chosen the northern route but made a mistake around the Azores high which
saw me dropping from 10th to mid fleet in a day when i got stuck in light
airs. Interestingly Conrad Colman was racing that race too, and we shared
the same strategy and the same mistake... we arrived in Guadaloupe
together, i could see him just behind me and i believe he crossed
the finish line just 6 minutes after me. He didnt take it very well,
that's why he was quite annoyed when I beat him again in leg 1 (by only 3
hours after 41 days of racing)... after that he has made no further
mistakes and scored a perfect first in both leg 2 and 3 and is set to win
again in this leg, so, hopefuly he has forgiven me for the earlier
inconveniece i had caused.

I keep looking at the complex weather forecast ahead and i know i wont
find peace until we're in Charleston, getting stuck in a wind hole is my
biggest worry since that poor performance in the Route du Rhum, we already
dropped 25 miles of our lead to Phesheya in just a day and our
160 miles advantage does not seem that great any more... we're all here to
play till the end and i'm sure they'll push hard seeing us slowing down...