Wind! More than expected, and that's fine with us. It built up gradually throughout the day yesterday, reaching 35 knots by the end of the day. As I type these lines this Tuesday morning (8:00 UT), the wind from the east/southeast continues to drive us with only the genoa staysail and one reef in the main. This acceleration is due to a local effect, very similar to the one occurring near Cape Finisterre, except that here it's due to a point of land on the Chilean coast south of the city of Tome. In the morning, the wind should again weaken, which means the big gennaker will go back up. We'll continue on our way toward the equator, jibing as necessary to stay in the strongest part of the wind generated along the edge of the Easter Island high-pressure system. That's our plan for the next few days. With 392 miles covered (although only 350 miles closer to our destination), the past 24 hours were, according to our weather team (Lemonchois/Vittet/Mondon), pretty indicative of the days to come. We expect to cross the equator next Monday, 19 February.
Now that we're able to sail on a reach again, we can sleep "feet forward." Let me explain. If you're ever lucky enough to sleep onboard a multihull like our maxi-catamaran, be aware that you need to sleep in the right direction. When the bows crash brutally into the waves, this produces a powerful forward force on your body. It's a good idea for your feet and legs to absorb this shock rather than your head, for reasons that don't need explaining. There is one exception however. When sailing close-hauled in rough seas, it's not always obvious which direction is best to sleep in. The hull, especially the leeward one, is constantly subject to powerful forward/backward movements as the boat goes over the waves. So you're propelled forward and then immediately backward, in a perpetual tug-of-war...it would be interesting to know how many G's of gravity are at play! The force of the boat surging forward is stronger, so it's a better idea to sleep "head forward."
To complete this primer on bunk usage, I would add that to get some sleep, you have to relax and become part of your bunk, and ignore the forward/backward movements as well as the up-and-down ones—which are just as frequent and brutal. In the well-being section of magazines, they call this “letting go.” On deck, this is not an option, but in our bunks, we are masters of “letting go.”