Today was an easy day for sail changes with only minor adjustments, but it was a difficult day for my back. Yesterday the pounding of the boat was so bad that I re-injured the rib that I think is fractured.
Over the two weeks since the start of the race the injury had slowly gotten better, although sometimes it seemed like there was a sharp knife in my back when I was grinding the pedestal winch to hoist the main sail from one reef to the next (360 revolutions!)
The pain had eased until it felt like only a butter knife in my back instead of a sharp knife. Then yesterday, while resting on the chart table bench, we crashed off a wave and it felt as though everything that had healed in my back came undone. The rib felt broken and very painful again.
I spoke with Dr. Barnewolt later in the day, and he, too, thinks that I cracked the healing rib again. Fortunately, Dr. Barnewolt does not think it will take two weeks for the rib to get back to the healed state that it was in before yesterday. You can read the analysis that Dr. Barnewolt sent to me via email. It is quite interesting, and it educated me about what is going on with my rib.
On the racing side of things, we currently have up the staysail with two reefs in the main, 25-30 knots of wind across the deck, and the boat making ten knots. We’ve inched out a little to windward of our group, but we are not sailing quite as fast down the southerly track. The leaders in the race have to go straight south because they are closer to the high pressure system, and the high will define their course toward the first ice gate. But here near the back of the fleet, perhaps the conditions will revert a bit closer to normal by the time we get there, and perhaps there will be a little advantage to my being a bit to windward. I remember a moment in my seminar with Jean-Yves Bernot this past summer when he said “try to put yourself in a position to get lucky." By being to windward, I hope to create a little luck for myself.