We are in Breskens

We are in Breskens, Holland home of Hall Spars Europe. Fast last 24 hours 450 miles. We learned a bunch more, got the boat here safely and will get our new mast in the boat tomorrow.

Things are progressing well. The more we learn the more we realize we have a lot to more learn. These boats are a handfull for 5 people (one watch) to handle. We are working on sytems to deal with this as I am sure our competitors have already figured out.

All is good and we are out of here and off for a good meal and maybe even just one beer.

Paul

h. 21.30

The Day Started Off Slowly

The day started off very slowly with very light winds from the southwest. It slowly built and by mid afternoon we had 20 knots from 230. We tested our masthead running spinnaker against our masthead reaching spinnaker to find the cross over in angle that each can be carried efficiently. We tested weather having water in our aft tank was better than without. We tested big stay sails and smaller ones. All in all a productive afternoon.

At 2030 local time we passed Ille d’Ouessant off the north west corner of France. The wind was up to 25 knots there so we were enjoying the sunset and ripping along at 25 knots making up for the slow start on the first 40 hours of the trip.

We now have about 20 knots of wind from 300 and making good progress up the English channel. There are a lot of ships around so we are keeping a good eye out for traffic.

We should get to Holland tomorrow afternoon late if the wind holds up.

Life onboard is good. A little damp but good. The crew is all in good spirits and we are looking forward to getting our new Hall mast in the boat on Friday. Jos of Hall Spars has organized a special Dutch dinner for us on Friday night so that plus a hotel room sounds pretty good.

Out.

Today Was Not a Record Breaking Day.

Today was not a record breaking day. We did only 200 miles in our first 24 hours. Winds generally under 10 knots and mostly right on the nose. Not optimal but pleasant sailing in the Bay of Biscay. Clear skies, high pressure, no rain, but a big swell so there is some serious breeze somewhere out to the west of us.

We are currently at: 45,44.34N , 6,35.84W which is about 220 miles due west of La Rochele France.

We tested different sails today and some keel positions. We are still complete novices at tuning this boat. Friday we have to decide on some of the designs for our race sails as they need to be produced and shipped to Spain before the start. We were commenting today on how little we know and yet we have to make these decisions that normally are the conclusion of months of testing and information. We haven’t even lined up side by side with another boat yet.

The wind is due to go around to the South West later tomorrow, Wednesday, and build to 25 knots. That should give us a nice ride up the English Channel and into Holland on Thursday. We can check a few of our spinnakers at that time and make so more fast miles. We realize now how good we had it in the 2000 miler going 20 knots all the time. 10 knots seems slow to us.

All these days out at sea are good for all of us. I just spent a bit of time steering in the dark. It takes practice to be efficient at steering in the dark. Not much moon now and there is a bit more darkness per 24 hours that day light.

More tomorrow.

Back At It

At 2000 local time the Black Pearl eased out of Sanxenxo on her way to Holland. The trip should take about 3 days. We are currently sailing hard on the wind out into the Atlantic, on starboard tack in 15 knots of wind from 325. The sea is fairly smooth. We are expecting to be on the wind most of tomorrow and then a front approaching from the west should give us some south west oging westerly winds fairly strong Wednesday and Thursday.

The shore team have worked hard in the past 6 days since the 2000 miler to get the Pearl to an improved state. Many of the sailors took a few days off to see their family. Freddy of course was bringing his wife Maja and their new son home. Dirk was home visiting his two week old. I went to california, Juggy and Jerry went to Rhode Island.

The main purpose of this trip is to get out second mast in the boat. Our Spars are made by Hall Spars in Holland. The first was has been excellent and we have made the second one just a bit better we think. We did not have much time to give input to the first one where as we have been able to put some thoughts into the second one. We should be bak in Sanxenxo by next Tuesday having made the swap.

We have 11 people onboard for this trip. Jules Salter; Navigator, Freddy Loof, Dirk De Ridder, Craig Satterthwaite, Nigel King, Jerry Kirby, Justin Ferris, Justin Clougher, Gavin Brady, Jerry Sicilliano (shore team) and myself. Jerry is working on our canard system so we thought it would be good for him to see how it works at sea.

The wind is dropping off a bit and the guys are easing the runner. Very loud sounds. The carbon boat is a drum. Better get up there.

Later.

Paul

Baby Pirate Born in Oslo

Maja Elien, the wife of Freddy Loof, gave birth to a baby boy Monday night in Oslo. They have yet to name the third, and youngest, baby Pirate in the

Black Pearl family. Freddy made the quick dash to the airport from Sanxenxo as soon as we docked. Good thing we were on a Volvo 70 and not a 60.

Early this year new pirates we brought into this world by the Ardern family and the DeRidder family. No reports of thievery yet.

Paul Cayard

This has been a Very Busy Time

September 18, 2005-15 miles from entrance to Sanxenxo

Obviously this has been a very busy time for all of us involved with the Black Pearl. Working 15 hours a day has been the norm for more than a month for most everyone.

The career we have chosen is one which takes us away from home for long periods and leave spouses to act as single parents or in some cases, simply to become a mom.

In July, we welcomed the first newborn Pirate into the family when Sofia Ardern of Sweden, gave birth to Nils. Watch captain Rodney of New Zealand is also a daddy. Ten days ago, Dirk de Ridder of Holland and his wife, Helena, welcomed a little girl named Mareka, into the world. Luckily Dirk was there as we had not yet left for the 2000 miler. Due tomorrow, September 19, is a new little Loof. Freddy is here with us and his wife Maja Elien is holding on tight I suspect hoping Freddy will make it. Later in December, probably during Leg 1, our navigator Jules Salter of Britain and wife, Cabrina, will welcome their first child.

These are certainly important moments in life and ones no one wants to miss. However, we have careers to pursue and therefore responsibilities to the team. In some ways this race is harder for those not onboard the boat.

On behalf of the Black Pearl family we want to wish these newborns and thier moms the very best of health. We also want to acknolwedge that there are 25 other spouses and 16 other children in the Black Pearl family and we want them to know how much we appreciate their understanding, support and tollerance while we pursue our passion.

The Black Pearl

Today will be Our Last Full Day at Sea

Daily Report, Pirates Of The Caribbean, September 17, 2005

Today will be our last full day at sea. 2000 miles under the keel in a hurry. Chewed up at an alarming rate. This is not like any sailboat I have been on before.

We had a huge day for sail developement today. We got ourselves positioned upwind of Sanxenxo by sailing west all last night. This morning at first light, we sent a man a loft to tighten our jumper rods which hold the tip of the mast from bending too much sideways. Then we starting putting up one spinnaker aftre the other, with and without staysails set underneath. The size and shape of sails for boats that go this fast are different to those that the mainstream of sailboat racing use. They are closer to multi hull sails. We found some that worked well and others that need some work. We have our sail designer Steve Calder, out here with us. This trip has been invaluable to all of us but maybe mostly for the department I call “sail patrol”. “Sail Patrol” is a group of people on the team who primarily focus on sails and that includes the designer, the sail trimmers, the repair guys.

We had everyone up all day working quite hard to get all these sails up and down and tested on a variety of wind angles. Jules and I got the boat positioned for a straight shot into Sanxenxo before dark so we could have an easy evening tonight for the guys. Everyone has been puching hard since long before the Pearl launched.

We now have our boat, intact, fully qualified for the race, at the start point for the race, with our base relocated to the start point for the race and a bunch of very usefull information. The crew got to know eachother well, as you would living together in a 70 foot shoe box for a week, and we are now more of a team than we were last Sunday. Ashore, we have a great group of people from the cooks to the laminators who have worked real hard to get the base relocated while we have been at sea. These people are unsung hero’s who make a huge difference to the outcome of the race. Our work list is long but we can take some comfort in knowing that it is a fairly comprehensive list thanks to 6 days of non-stop sailing at sea.

We will arrive in Sanxenxo about 0700 local time Sunday September 18. We will have a one week work period to address the issues on our work lists. We plan to go back out ot sea for three days at the end of the month.

This will be my last note probably for a couple of days but I will keep you updated even during our non sailing periods.

Paul onboard The Black Pearl 200 miles off the north coast of Spain.

Still Rippin it Up

Still rippin it up. We did 480 miles on the Pearl in the past 24 hours and believe me we are trying not to go too fast. She is capable of leaping small buildings if you are not carefull and the landings are a bit brutal. She is not a balerina, more of a belly flopper. Not going to be a comfortable rid around the world. The 60’s were less violent that this baby. Awesome machine through.

We have had the full fire hose conditions most of today and in side it feels like you are getting dragged down a cobble stone street in a 55 gallon drum. All pretty similar to my other experiences. One difference is the constant speed. We are definitely going to get their quicker. The boat is very easily driven and wont need much sail area.

Typing is not easy in these conditions. I end up backspacing and retyping a lot.

We are honing in on 1500 of the 2000 required miles as I type this. We should arrive in Sanxenxo sometime around midnight tomorrow night by the looks of the forecast. Plenty of breeze off Finistare…force 8! We will try to line up correctly for that. No upwind testing there.

The crew are in good spirits and we continue to learn a lot about the Pearl each day. We will be at the dock in Sanxenxo and the boat will be just 12 days old, having done the roll over test and 2000 miles of sailing. Putting the pressure on the team to get this done this fast has jump started our program. Now we have a huge list of things to do to the boat, nothing major, but lots of little jobs that have to be done to make this a race ready yacht.

We have already sent our jobs lists created onboard off to our shore team so they can buy needed parts and schedule the jobs to be done.

While we have been at sea, the shore team led by Kimo Worthington have set up a new base of operations for us in Sanxenxo, Spain. New Pirates are waiting there for us…our team cooks, Mark and Jo Rehana. Mark was the head chef at AmericaOne in 2000 in Auckland. Mark’s assistant Harry is the cook for Telefonica MovieStar, the Spanish VOR 70 competing in the race.

It is dark and a bit squally tongiht on the Bay of Biscaye and I am on radar watch. We are coming up on the straight line between Finistare and Brest so we will be dodging some ships as we were last night. Naturally we are going through these lanes in the dark at 20 knots of speed.

Enjoy your Friday night. Have a glass of wine for us.

These Boats are Weapons!

The weather routing we did yesterday worked out perfectly. It was like taking the chairlift up to the top of the hill for the big burn down. We rode some nice southwesterlies up to the north west side of Ireland yesterday and this morning. The wind slowly turned from south to west over 4 hours this morning. Then the wind direction went from west to north in 2 minutes when the front passed us. It happend so fast that all we did was turn the boat 90 degress and nothing had to be adjusted. Soon after, we set the kite (spinnaker) and sent it. 30 knots of boatspeed for the Pearl in 27 knots of wind. These boats are weapons! Got some firehosing going and plenty of green water over the deck. We shot some good video of the day which our friends at Disney will be happy to see.

We spent most of the day trying three different sails that we wanted to look at and burning through 200 miles in 10 hours. We are now in throttle back mode for the night only hitting 25 every once in a while. We sailed around the bottom of Ireland and are heading for the Scilly Isles off the southwest tip of England. Hope fully we wont have to gybe there tonight and we can keep ripping toward Brest, France. We will gybe there tomorrow and send it back out into the Atlantic for about 500 miles and then head into Vigo hopefully on Sunday if the wind holds. Right now the weather models look good for us.

The work list is getting long as is always the case with new boats. But here we are pushing the hell out of this boat one week after it very first sail. Overall, she seems to be a sound structure and the big elements like the keel and mast all seem to be solid. We do need to do some serious pounding upwind before we can give the final verdict.

I just finished up cooking dinner for the guys and am now writing up my worklist. Everyone is writing up their worklist now so we can email it to our shore team tomorrow so they can prepare for next week. Time is critical to this campaign so we have to make every hour count.

Back to the work list.

Paul onboard The Black Pearl

Pushed the Boat a Bit More in the Past 24 Hours

We have pushed the boat a bit more in the past 24 hours. Last night we were heading north toward the east coast of Ireland and got a bit more wind than expected. The sea got rough and the boat started slamming so I decided to tack and reach off toward France and lighter winds as I did not want to put the boat through her first big structural test in the dark where visual inspection is much harder.

Today in the light have been smashing around in the waves a bit more and all seems solid. We have been working our way to the north and west as we are expecting a low pressure to pass to our north tomorrow around 1200 UTC. This will bring northly winds after the front passes so getting north now is like getting to the top of the ski slope on the chair lift. We have southwesterly winds now preceeding the front.

This “2000 mile qualification race or passage” is required by the race organizers to make sure that eah yacht has been thuroughly tested in ocean conditons before the start. The Race office is polling us every 15 minute just like they will during the race to produce the position reports that you will al read, so they ar tracking us to make sure we do the 2000 miles. You don’t have to go anywhere in particular so as we did 8 years ago on EF, we are using this period of time to test sails and sail combinations. We don’t have the advantage of having a second boat to test against as we did in EF, boat nonetheless, we can acquire data that is very usefull.

Tommorrow with the north wind, we will look at our spinnakers and probably see some pretty high boat speeds. Winds are supposed to be around 25 to 30 knots so the boat will be doing about the same.

My first impressions of this boat is that it s much more powerfull that the 60’s were. It is a bit daunting actually. It will take some good sail handling techniques to keep the manouvers safe and efficient duing the race. We have been learning a lot these first few days.

Life onboard is reminiscint of the other parts of the Volvo oceann race I have done….damp clothes all the time, difficult sleeping, always hungry, freeze dried food actually tasted pretty good this time thanks to Dry Tech, salty hair, beard growing out… I’ll probably look like Santa Claus this time. Curtis got us the really good sleeping bags from North Face so we can burrough in when those moments come along.

In 24 hours time I will have a better idea if this thing is VOR 60 squared or cubed.