After 3 days of stifling heat and humidity in the Marina at Nanny Cay it was almost a relief to be throwing off the lines and heading out to the start line for the Atlantic Cup. However, if we had hoped to experience instant relief then we were to be disappointed. The usually reliable easterly trade winds had all but disappeared, leaving us feeling just as hot offshore as it had been in the marina.
With just 8 boats on the start line there was none of the tense pre-start jostling that had accompanied our start to the ARC 5 months earlier. The remainder of the fleet very generously held well back from the line, leaving us free to pick our spot and hoist the spinnaker unimpeded on the line. For a full 10 minutes Cosmic Dancer had the joy of leading the fleet down the St Francis Drake Channel.
It wasn't to last. The novelty of trying to cox a few knots of boat speed out of not too many more knots of wind soon palled for the rest of the fleet. The largest yacht in the Fleet, Brizo, was the first to turn her engine on and come speeding past us and by the time we had rounded Great Thatch Island we were the only yacht left sailing and were firmly at the back of the fleet. However as the smallest yacht in the fleet with a motoring range of not much more than 500 miles and over 850 miles still to sail, we could not really justify the luxury of turning the engine on at such an early stage in the passage.
Our patience was rewarded. Shortly after rounding Great Thatch a heavy squall line came through bringing with it torrential rain and a full 20 knots of wind. Within seconds we were bowling along at 7.5 knots with the rain bringing some much welcome relief to the stifling humidity.
The forecast is promising us moderately favourable winds for the first 36 hours with the wind progressively becoming more northerly as we approach Bermuda. We are looking forward to our first night at sea - we may only get a few hours sleep at a time between watches, but unless we have some rogue stowaways, hopefully it will be a night free the from the mosquitoes that have tormented us for the past few airless nights in the marina!!