Straight Forward 24 Hours

Position: 56,47.66S , 94,41.67W

Speed: 23 knots, Course: 87 deg.

Another pretty straight forward 24 hours. The wind has been between 20 and 22 knots for that past 24 hours and hasn’t deviated in direction more than 7 degrees over that period. We are riding along in the same location on the front because we can travel at the same speed as the front. That is a new game for me as the 60’s were slower than the fronts so you always had to “look over your should” to see what was coming net wind wise. This is another reason that positioning is so important. Once you set up in a good lane you can ride it for days. No sail changing no stress, less chance to make mistakes, don’t screw up the watch system.the snow ball rolls in the positive sense.

Yesterday was particularly tame and we took advantage of the situation to make some repairs. Erle Williams repaired the pump handle on the toilet (this item had the highest priority) that poor thing gets yanked around 10-12 time s a day by ten 200 pound guys who don’t really want to be there as it is forward of the mast. I think I am going to tell the shore team to make one out of titanium. After that, Erle fixed a leak in our ballast tankcover as we were sailing for some hours with that empty. Jules repaired the GPS main antennae which suffered a “whip-saw” shot to the head on one of our sail changes. A “Whip-saw” shot is like when you used to snap your towel at some guys butt in the locker room in high school. In our case, a loose spinnaker sheet “whipped” the antennae and KO’s it so we had to go to back up number one. I think we have four of those things so no real alarm there. Then Jules fixed our intercom system; our means of communicating from the nav station to the deck.

I made a few phone calls yesterday to a few important fans to let them know how we are doing out here. I have decided to splurge on the crew and allow them each one 5 minute phone call from the boat as we approach the Horn. Rounding the Horn is a big achievement for any sailor. These are moments one never forgets; the first sighting of the Horn, a very distinctive shaped rock that you watch grow in stature as you approach. It is scheduled to be daybreak on the 2nd when we pass the Corn. We have four first timers; Justin Ferris, Anthony Merrington, Jeremy Smith, and Jules Salter; 2 who will round for the second time; Justin (Juggy) Clougher, and Craig (Saturday) Satterthwaite, and four three timers; Erle Williams, Rodney Ardern, Dirk DeRidder and myself. “Three must be enough.surely.” I am just writing that in for my wife as she was not here to write in herself and I know that is what she is thinking as she reads this.

Weather wise, we are setting up a bit high for the approach to the Horn. We expect 25 knots of wind in about 12 hours times and maybe 35 knots of wind in 24 hours time all from the northwest. We will need a little runway with these rockets so you don’t want to get caught low. Movistar has now come up from the south and they are 15 miles behind us. So the net outcome of the decision we made three days ago; to gybe toward the Horn and leave them go south, paid of to the tune of 15 miles.at least. ABN1 is staying down there as they don’t worry too much about getting caught low as they have much more stability than the rest of us so they can just rock up across the fleet whenever they want. Brasil1 has been making nice gains to the north of our line and I think that was another reason Movistar changed course and headed north. We are all starting to “cover” our opponents a bit as we near the scoring point at the Horn. The points are awarded on the basis of who crosses the longitude of the Horn first, independently of what latitude.

The forecast show that the increase in breeze is coming from the northwest so Brasil1, ABN2 and Ericsson should make some gains on us approaching the Horn. Looks like good breeze for the first two days after the Horn.reaching in westerlies,,,so we will make good mileage there. After that, this leg normally has a very difficult part off the coast of Rio de la Plata or Buenos Aires. The warm south flowing Brazilian current meets the cold north flowing southern ocean current and it is a very tumultuous piece of water. If it is windy there, we will have to be careful with the boats.

Just got the latest sked, 2200 on the 28th, and see that Movi gained four miles on us and Brasil gained too . Movistar must have a fractional kite on as he is sailing 3 degrees higher than us and just as fast. He had a bit more wind as all who are behind do. He is going high to get set up for the big breeze tonight and tomorrow. I have to go now.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Much Tamer Conditions

Position: 55,51.18S , 112,21.65W

Speed: 20 knots, Course: 94 deg.

Got past 122W trying not to think about all the good things I miss from my home town area in Marin County, CA. The list of most missed things other than family would be; DeAngelo’s, Woodlands Market, and Kentfield Fitness. I miss my runs with my dog on Mt. Tam too. But you know what, all that will be there when I get back and right now I am doing something that I may never be able to do again and most people never get the opportunity to do once. I appreciate the opportunity. I am just happy to be out here and to be a Pirate out here is even better!

Much tamer conditions greeted us this morning.better typing conditions After a day of slamming, banging and ripping, at up to 30 knots, we have settled down to 20 knots of boat speed. Some of us who have done this leg a few times before have been making snide comments about the “tropical cruise” that we have been on (Tahitian Cruise, etc) but, in reality, I don’t know how many days of ripping, slamming and banging these machines could take. They are perfect in 25 knots of wind and long seas like we have had for the past 24 hours. I think the Race Committee may have called this one just right. The forecast looks pretty good to the Corn and getting all of us around that corner will be a nice achievement for this young fleet of super fast boats.

It is hard to have a boat that generates the footage you have undoubtedly seen of the Black Pearl coming out of Melbourne, and have that same vessel sturdy enough to survive 8 days of real Southern Ocean. Maybe we could have but, just the same, it isn’t all bad that we did not have to run the test.

So now it is about focusing on the Horn, less than 1500 miles away, and the points that will be awarded there. It became apparent a while ago that we could not hang with ABN1 in stability conditions and to a lesser extent; the same is true with Movistar. So we have decided to really put extra effort into our study of the weather and the routing and when our analysis says to do something different than the other two, we have been doing it. If we follow them around, in these conditions, we will lose. We will need to be smarter to beat them. This is not typical of the way I sail usually, I am a conservative strategist, but in this case, I think it is the right way to go. Maybe in different conditions, we will have the speed advantage and we can take the conservative strategy.

While we are doing something a bit different to ABN1 and Movistar, we are very aware of Brasil1 and Ericsson and ABN2, and where they are going. So far, the last three are going the same way we want to go, so we get the split from the first two without a risk on the back three. That is as good a situation as a gambler gets.

Right now, our weather analysis says that there is a small disturbance forming just to the south of our track, therefore we are a bit north of ABN1 and Movistar. It appears that there will be less wind to the south in the short term, but that it will be good again in the south in 20 hours time. So we will adjust our course to take both into account and see if we can make a gain over those two boats in the south.

In two days time, the wind will build again to 25-35 as we approach the Horn. This wind will fill from behind.west. So the boats behind will gain on the leaders and there will be compression. Right now it looks like we will get to the Corn at 12:00 GMT on the 2nd of March in 30 knots of wind and I imagine a well formed sea. Very early predictions look like it could get very light and tricky up by the Falklands. 8 years ago a huge high pressure bubble formed there and trapped everyone but us (EF Language) as we were just a few hours ahead and managed to escape and build a 500 mile lead by the finish in Brasil.

Life onboard is still good. Some people manifest fatigue now that we are into the 11th day. People have their ups and downs and the Horn usually has a strong effect. Elation for rounding it and then about 24 hours later a slight depression in realizing that there are over 2000 miles to sail to get to Brasil. I keep pushing everyone to take the Vitamins as we need these minerals when drinking desalinated water for days. It is getting colder.7C degree water temp.when you breath inside the boat, you breath makes the fog that we all know to be a sign of cold temperature. Still, I doubt we will get snow on the deck or see ice on this leg. In some ways that is sad. We have plenty of thick, murky, fog which is typical down here. We have been running the heater onboard for a few hours each day, drying out some inner layers and taking a bit of the condensation out of the boat. The food is the same, that’s just the way it is with freeze dried. I actually think our Real Expedition freeze dried is very good and holding up to the testiness of a crew very well.

That is the news for February 27, 2006.

Captain Paul signing out.

Pirates of the Caribbean

We can Focus on the Corn Now

Position: 51,20.76S , 125,56.92W

Speed: 19 knots, Course: 121 deg.

Long Day today with plenty of decisions to be made. So far so good. We are finally done with the northern loop and we can focus on the Corn now. Movistar ended up beating us to the “bouy” by about 5 boat lengths. It was kind of neat to have two boats side by side as we approached this GPS position. They did a gybe set there while we did a simple “bear away” set and then gybe calmly about 10 minutes later. It is 2300 miles to the next mark after all.

We gybed back onto port, first, amongst the top three boats and headed for the Corn. The wind direction was 20 degrees right of the GRIB so we decided to go back to seat of the pants sailing and ignore the fact that the GRIB wanted us to continue on starboard for another three hours. “Sail the wind you got”, someone once told me. “A forecast is just that, someone’s best guess.”

The GRIB is a digital weather forecast that we receive 4 times a day and plug into our routing software. The GRIB is not always right, it is just a forecast. So we have to use other sources of information to check and correlate the GRIB to reality. We use the position reports, satellite pictures, and general high seas bulletins.

When we gybed back onto port, we were heading 10 degrees to the right of Cape Horn. Good enough for us. We have been letting her rip since then and now find ourselves in the lead.

It is a bit early to get excited about this though. It could be that there is or will be more pressure in the south over the next couple of days. So we are watching the forecasts and the wind reading we get from the skeds, and may try to move south a bit relative to the group. Movistar is trying to get up to where we are, east, after holding starboard and the southerly course the longest before gybing toward the Horn. Seems they are not too sure where they want to go. It looks to me that ABN1 is comfortable playing the low road. They always have the afterburners to come up high if they need them.

The boats that came through the ice waypoint after us like Brasil and ABN 2 never had to gybe to starboard as they were being picked up by the Northwesterly’s on the leading edge of the cold front when they got there. We are all trying to line up in the correct place along the cold front and ride it all the way to the Horn. There should be more wind to the northwest so the boats behind should compress on the leaders as we go.

I always think about home when I get this point on this leg and we approach the 122 longitude line.the longitude of San Francisco. I think a little more about my family on this day. I miss them a little more on this day.

We had the big mast head spinnaker on most of the night but then the “martin breaker” blew the spinnaker off the bow sprit and we had to take it down. The Martin Breaker is a little device that allows you to “trip” the spinnaker out of the bowsprit and take it down. It is a type of remote control emergency release device that can be operated from the cockpit. We were contemplating a change anyway as we are on the edge of controllability with the big kite. Now were are on our fractional spinnaker and while it isn’t wildly fast on this angle it is a lot more stable puts less stress on the helmsman. It is still easy sailing, 20-25 knots of wind and 20-22 knots of boat speed. We just did 120 miles on our last 6 hour sked.

I am fading fast. I am going to have to get Jules up and out of our bunk so I can get in.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Tonight is one of those Nights

Position: 48,14.86S , 135,49.96W

Speed: 20 knots, Course: 88 deg.

This one is going to be hard to write. We are slamming pretty violently on a 100 true wind angle reach, even though we are only going about 20 knots.

I was pleased with the way we sailed the past 48 hours, our positioning mainly, and getting to the ice waypoint first. However, this morning it was another display of the speed of ABN 1 as we left the ice waypoint on a reach with ABN 8 miles astern. She passed, about one half a mile to leeward, us in just three hours, carrying more sail than us. She had up similar foresails to ours but had a full main where we had to have one reef. She just has that much more power from her beam and probably a heavier bulb. For reaching, her beam gives her another advantage which is a wider sheeting angle. Pretty depressing to see our lead, something that took us 48 hours to accumulate, get burned up in 3 hours by a guy just sailing straight past us going 1.5 knots faster.

Anyway, this leg is perfect for them ass it is a tight reach for 500 miles and ABN1 will stretch out to a nice lead.

Movistar is going nicely too, gaining on us slowly. Movistar is the only Farr boat that is slightly different to the other three; Ericsson, Pirates, and Brasil1. I believe that Movistar is a bit beamier than the rest of us, a bit closer to ABN but still far from as powerful. She does have a skeg like the ABN boats which I think is very helpful in these reaching conditions. Just like a 29er or 49er, the chine gives these high speed boats something to dig into the water and lean on. The stern is pushed down by the 1250 liter ballast tank and the dagger boards are up at these speeds. So the chine would be like a skeg on a surf board.

I just came down below from steering the boat for a couple of hours and could not help but think that tonight is one of those nights, that if any normal person wee on the boat, they would think we were all nuts. Picture this; on deck, it is a caustic environment; pitch black, drizzling and blowing 25 knots. The spray is pelting you in the face and chest as you stand exposed at the wheel. You are wheeling this 70 foot boat around, heeling over at up to 28 degrees as you go catapulting down the waves that you can’t see. You are clipped on because the amount of heel is so steep that if you loose you balance, you will fall 15 feet to the rushing water below on the leeward said of the boat. We are traveling along at 20 knots average with the apparent wind angle (the wind you feel on your face) coming from 50 degrees off centerline which pitches the spray and wind in your face about 35 knots.. The helm has a very light feel on the wheel as the front half of the boat is out of the water most of the time. Then you think about where you are, strafing across the bottom of the planet, thousands of miles from anywhere, and even you begin to think that this is crazy.

Down below in these conditions, it isn’t much better than being on deck. When you try to get dressed, it is all you can do to not get thrown down and smash your face into the leeward hull 15 feet below. The noise is and ride would be like being inside a 55 gallon drum and being dragged down as cobble stone road. As for the nav-station, you have to wedge your knees up under the table to hold on while you use your hands to type or run the computer for routing, etc.. really good ab workout. I think riding in the nav station in these is similar to riding a bull. Then you hit a wave and it is a violent smash. Water is hard when you run into it at 20 knots. Everything shakes and vibrates for a few seconds, the lights and computer screens flicker, the keel makes a few loud popping sounds, but we all continue just as though nothing had happened. And then it all happens again.

Since we have al these great cameras all over this boat including in the nav station, I am filming myself typing this report just to document how difficult it is.

Well that is 45 minutes worth, about all I have in me for today.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Heading North in the Southern Ocean

Position: 49,55.78S , 145,1.97W

Speed: 12 knots, Course: 12 deg.

This is the first time I can remember heading North in the Southern Ocean. North is just not a normal heading out here. East is the heading you want or Southeast.

Well, we are heading North and not for just a little while; 24 hours of it. This detour will add considerable time to this leg. It was a bad coincidence that the high pressure ridge was right between Wellington and the “ice waypoint” and that we had to go so far south to get here. But that is the way it is and we should be around this thing in 15 hours and blasting out East toward the second one.

The reason for the “ice waypoints” is to keep the fleet out of unduly dangerous ice situations. Last race, 2002, we had serious ice for 8 days. That was ridiculous and dangerous. So, while it is a bit painful to do these extra miles, I think we are all happy to have increased our chances of getting to Rio.

When we started this leg we were given a radar ice survey of the Pacific and there were four “targets” in the area we are going through now. Well, last night we saw two of them; big steel ones. As you could imagine, there was not a good chance that there was ice at 50S with sea temperature of 10C. They were large fishing boats I assume, 300 feet long. One tried to follow us for a while.kind of eerie. but gave up the chase after 20 minutes.

Today we had a few events onboard. First we had an oil leak. We carry 35 liters of spare hydraulic oil for our keel rams. Everyone does as the rams are fundamental to the operation of the boat. The “Breather” on the spare oil tank somehow came loose and a few liters of oil leaked into the bilge. As you probably know, a little oil goes a long way. Erle Williams discovered it and he and I cleaned it up. It was a long job, slipping and sliding around in the leeward bilge with paper towels and toilet paper, trying to wipe this stuff up. Hopefully, using up a lot of toilet paper wont come back to bite us in the.

Then our radar bracket started breaking off the mast. We have been slamming a fair amount today as the wind is from the northeast and we are heading north on starboard tack. The waves are large from the left over tropical depression that is decaying north of us. Juggy had to go up the mast and get the bracket down so we could put more carbon on it to beef it up.

While we came leaping off one wave, I was in the process of pumping some water through our galley sink. We have foot pumps and there is a special floorboard that the foot pump is mounted into. Anyway, as we crashed off the wave, the pressure of my weight crushed the flange that keeps the little floorboard in place. There you go, another 1 hour job for someone.

It is amazing how much goes on onboard, apart from the racing. There is constant maintenance program and there is the race. That is why you have to be very disciplined and stay ahead of the game with both the sailing, like sail changes, etc, as well as the maintenance. If you get behind, things snowball and you have a real mess.

As far as the race is concerned, we are doing well; amongst the first three.

The GRIB is not accurate today so Jules and I spent a lot of time analyzing Satellite pictures and tacking the depression and then projecting its path to find out why the wind is not lining up with the GRIB. Basically, we have the wind much more from the east than forecast. This is ok with us as we are the eastern boat of our group. Also, there should be more pressure in the east as we enter the last of the ridge. However, the transition from the north easterlies to the new north westerly’s will be another tricky spot where a lot can happen. It will take place tonight, most likely, in the pitch black darkness as there is no moon anymore.

Just got the 0400 sked. We are doing very nicely out here on the east. We have more wind and we pulled 10 degrees of bearing on Movistar and ABN AMRO ONE.

During the past six hours, we “put the hammer down” and reached a bit more using our easterly position and more wind to gain bearing and distance to the mark on them. I don’t know how it is presented on the Volvo site but the way we rate the boats is on distance to the eastern point of gate 1.

The Black Pearl is 8 miles closer to that point than ABN AMRO ONE and 17 miles close than Movistar. Very tight race indeed. The wind is starting to drop now so it will be difficult sailing at night in this big seaway without much wind and no light to see.

It is real foggy and drizzling. Murky.

PC

Pirates of the Caribbean

Easy and Uneventful Day

Position: 52,18.46S , 148,17.81W

Speed: 13 knots, Course: 71 deg.

Another easy and uneventful day on the Black Pearl. The wind lightened up quite a bit as we have come north to cross the high pressure ridge and deal with what is left of a tropical depression. It is just a big mess up here, not really sure the GRIB can accurately forecast this so a bit of gut feel is going into the strategy this right now.

We managed to wiggle out way into the lead a few hours ago. Seems like a good track for now. Looks like we will tack sometime in the next 5 hours and then we will have about 24 hours of upwind sailing in 12-15 knots to get to the “ice waypoint”. I haven’t tacked in the Southern Ocean yet. Mind you, the water is flat as a pancake out here so hard to call it the Southern Ocean.

Our day is coming though. We will get around the western gate in 30 hours, spend 24 hours reaching due east to the eastern gate, then dive south in 2-30 knots of wind to head for Cape Horn 2300 miles away. I am sure we will find plenty of breeze on that 5 day stint. Might be just enough in these boats.

We did a little maintenance today. Our keel position indicator broke two days ago. Jules and Juggy repaired it today. This involved taking the lid off the “fish bowl”, the box that the keel head is in. This is a water tight compartment but we had to get in there to reattach the keel sensor. Today was the perfect day as we had slowed to 6 knots of boats speed for a few hours.

I got to that point today where I am always hungry. I eat everything I can. Luckily Craig Satterthwaite has been sick so he doesn’t eat his portions. He eats soup. It has been pretty cold..about 8 C without wind chill. I guess that helps fuel the appetite.

Not much to say today so signing off early.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

So Far, So Good

Position: 53,50.91S , 155,8.83W

Speed: 19 knots, Course: 78 deg.

So far so good. The South is paying us back for our investment. The boats in the North are very light. They must be hoping to pop out of the ridge first and get the new Northwesterly’s in front of the next cold front. Our routing software doesn’t think that is a good idea. ABN1 is taking charge again, blasting through from the south. Not much to do about that except stay close and hope that we find some condition that they are not so fast in.

Movistar is pretty quick as well. She is the only Farr boat with “chines” (hard angles on the side of the boat-ABN has them too) and I believe she is wider than Pirates, Ericsson, and Brasil.all three of the identical design. During these races I always think how nice it must be for the designers to see the “full scale” testing that we run for them.

Sails are a big factor in these boats as they always sail at tight apparent wind angles. Last summer I raced in the Transpac 52 class in Europe and it was amazing to see some of the boats improve their speed under gennaker by magnitudes of knots by getting a better sail onboard. Here in the VOR 70s, the same is true if not more so. I am sure we all have room to improve in our sails. Having said that, I am very happy with our North Sails and the work done so far. We did not had much time to develop sails in this campaign and yet we have a couple that are the best in the fleet.

The forecast is for some fluky winds starting in about 18 hours from now, down to 6 knots maybe, as we pass through the remnants of a tropical depression and wait for the next cold front to sweep through and collect us. This next front could be our ride all the way to the “Corn” (Cayardeese for Cape Horn). We should get to the east end of the western gate around 1700 UTC on the 24th and then only take 24 hours to do the 500 miles to get to the eastern gate. Then from there it is a short 2300 miles to the Corn and we will hook a ride on the front and with these boats, you can just stay with it as it travels at 25-30 knots.

Sounded like we just hit something. The guys are inspecting the foils but we can’t see because it is nighttime. These things always happen at night time. Maybe nothing. There are so many banging sounds on these boats that it is hard to know. Our speed hasn’t changed so I guess it just bounced off, whatever it was. That is good because backing down is a real bummer. We already had to do that two days ago and we will most likely have to do it after Staten Island which is about 100 mile past the Horn. There is a ton of weed there.

Actually this has been a VERY smooth ride so far. We haven’t done a gybe since Sunday afternoon and we haven changed the spinnaker we have up for over 24 hours. Craig Satterthwaite, who was very ill with Tonsillitis, has been recovering well thanks to the smooth conditions.

It has gotten a bit cold down here at 54 South. We all have our gloves and balaclavas on, but we still haven’t put on the bear suits. We are saving those for after the gates when we head south for the Horn…the coldest part of the trip. Erle and I were commenting that this is sure a strange Round the World Race, to be heading up North at this point, but we aren’t complaining. This is the new and improved Volvo Ocean Race, perfect for people over 45.

Here is to being 46 and living like 26.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

TECHNICAL EXPERIMENTS

RATS (rapid action technical seamen)

Salter Ferris and Clougher were in an instant lather, upon finding the keel gauge string potentiometer had broken its flexible attachment to the keel head. This is an ESSENTIAL gauge for boat maneuvers, so was immediately set upon. Operations were directed by RAT Superintendent Chief of Everything Williams, who was happy to share his practical and worldly knowledge of farmyard repair. A wonderful time was had by all in the keel wet box that surrounds the keel head and ram attachments. This is an area of water compression coming through the keel hinge whilst surfing, and directly underneath is the hole to the bottom of the briny. Only partial soaking to the shoulders was necessary to lift the spirits of all the junior squids taking part.

All this transpires under the galley, in a slime of freeze dry slop from above, carefully laid in amongst the bolt heads and laminate for later on in the journey. It’s actually quite intriguing that freeze dry food doesn’t actually go OFF or root, which brings us warm fuzzy drooling dreams of other fabulous gastronomic delights such at Mikky-Deez, which we all know how good a quarter pounder bun can taste after even a month under the back seat of the car.

Back online now, and the keel box is once again intact and we once again, happily have completely erroneous numbers displayed on deck. It’s a real pleasure to be able to share these great experiences with y’all.

INFIRMARY

Medical personnel have had a steady but satisfactory stream of victims thru the infirmary since departing Wellington.

Principally one of our beefier cake on board, Satterthwaite had the misfortune to perfectly time a strep-ish throat and inflamed tonsil region with the start day. This has seen the big fella laid very low, with a note to stay in his bunk.

Extra sterilization of all galley utensils has been authorized, bringing the spoon and bowl rinse to probably 1 1/2 – 2 foot pumps on the galley tap per item, instead of the usual sparkling “lick the thing clean and park it” methods normally employed.

Craig has been a willing guinea pig for nurses DeRidder and Clougher, who have gone out of their way to comfort him with whatever comes out of the Dr box in the dark. It is unclear as yet if, in fact, he has actually SWALLOWED any suppositories, but for the moment what ever seems to be working and he has made a remarkable transition from “navy grey” complexion to the current “faded sky white”. We are quietly quite happy with this progress. In other medical reports, more research is being attempted in the “lump” or “muscle” laboratory, however the patient is being slightly un-cooperative, after a recent and rampant gorging in NZ. This is only a minor setback though, as there is well known tropical conditions awaiting in 2 weeks around the horn, and that specimen abdomen will once again be revealed for more observations, especially seeing as the superficial cream cake and lager layer from NZ will have disappeared from Crew DeRidder.

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

It is clear that our newest crew man- Jeremy Smith, is more than just a yachtsman and sail maker. He has unveiled a remarkable and incredible knowledge in the BOAT RAM

technical area. This is a huge step forward in our on board boat maintenance and work areas. Specifically …pictures of his ram expertise will tell more than a thousand words.

You wait, you will laugh, we all did!!

TACTICAL TACKS

Does anybody know what GRIB stands for?? I haven’t got the guts to ask on board, after 9 years of looking at them, I still don’t know. Does this make

me a bad person?

ENTERTAINMENT

Tonight’s thriller by popular demand, will be a re-run of everybody’s favorite, Erle’s Adventures on Flyer, have you seen it yet??…. Can’t wait!

There you have it from the Lost Souls on the Black Pearl.

Juggy

TAKE TWO

We are at one of those rare moments in life where you completely relive the same day. As we crossed the international dateline yesterday near the end of the day, it immediately became the night before…”last night”..if you know what I mean. So today, we are having another crack at February 21 and it has been a great day for the Pearl, better than the first attempt. Would that be great if you could redo days regularly?

Juggy is delivering one of his special edition reports today. It is very humorous as usual.

In the meantime, I will give you a short update on the day. At 0600, Rodney felt a big vibration on the rudder. Anthony went down below to inspect through a window we have and found a sushi farm growing on not only the rudder but the keel as well. The precipitated our first “Back down”. That is right, drop the spinnaker, go head to wind in the southern ocean and back her down! We got the kelp off and were back sailing with the spinnaker in a relatively quick 15 minutes. It was pleasing that on the position report that included the back down, (we estimate this cost 5 miles as we were doing 20 knots when sailing full speed), we lost nothing to Ericsson who is our closest opponent out here just 8 miles away.

We have been sailing quite fast today with one of our better sails and mid afternoon were treated to a special visit by ABN1 who had gybed and crossed behind us by two miles. The router is telling us that we all need to stay more south for more wind but the group is turning up to the “Gate” trying to cut the corner on this high pressure system. The danger in that move is that you could find yourself out of wind sand needing to gybe to get south later. Very costly! So we have been trying to stay south even though it doesn’t look as good on the skeds now…slower angle and not as direct a course to the rated mark…to preserve our position as we wind around the outside of the high pressure system. ABN1 obviously got concerned about it and paid a big price to get out. Brasil and just cranked a left turn up into the high on the latest position report (we call them “skeds”). On the sked, we get everyone’s wind speed and direction and it has been consistently lighter up north. So we like our position.

We made a repair today to our keel sensor. It is an important device because not only does it tell us where the keel is, but it also allows our software to perform some automated functions that are very important when we gybe and tack. Without it, we have to dedicate a man to this job, and that is an extra man we don’t have in a gybe in 35 knots of wind.

Easy sailing these first couple of days, 20 knots downwind, sunny skies, moonlight nights. It doesn’t get easier than that in the southern ocean. We did 850 miles in the first 48 hours with hardly any fuss. This is the condition when these boats just eat miles because of their massive sail area. We have the 500 sq meter spinnaker up..that is 5000 sq feet for you non metric types.

Dinner is up in a few so time to sign off.

PC

Pirates of the Caribbean

Crossed the International Dateline

Crossed the International Dateline today. That is a big one. Along with the Equator, it is the most significant line on the Map. It means that we are about half way round the planet and 180 more degrees to go to get back the Greenwich or 0 Degrees of Longitude. It also means that we will do February 20th again. Other than that, it doesn’t mean anything to us. The wind did not change when we crossed it so it did not affect us. We don’t change our clocks and most of the crew don’t even know what day it is out here. Our life is that simple.

Today we were in a “see-saw” battle with Ericsson all day within sight of each other all day. That was fun and we each learned a bit I am sure. ABN AMRO ONE continues to impress with her speed. The rest of the fleet goes pretty much the same speed and you can see when someone makes a good move relative to the weather. With ABN AMRO ONE they are just plain fast. They have averaged almost 1 knot faster than the rest of us today sailing in identical conditions. It has been a bit reachy and that is their strong suit as they have a lot of form stability.

The conditions today were pretty pleasant, 17-20 knots at 125 true wind angle going to 145 true wind angle giving us good average boat speeds around 17-18 knots for 6 hour reports. We were actually doing the 125 TWA most of today, which is ideal for ABN AMRO ONE, due to their form stability, but now we have just squared up and put up our big running spinnaker. So maybe we will gain a bit on ABN AMRO ONE now.

The forecast for the next three days is that we are working the south side of a high pressure cell turning into a ridge. This ridge will block our path to the first ice waypoint which is actually a gate. This “block” will probably compress the fleet as the first boats hit the wall first and the other come piling in from behind.

The gates work like this; the east and west bounds of the gate(goal posts) are specific degrees of longitude (the north and south lines on the map).

At some point between the two “goal posts” you have to be above 48 degrees south. So you can sail above the gate for its entire length or you can come up from the south and pop up over 48 S at one point between the goal posts, or you can cross it from north to south. The first gate is between 148W and 140W and again, each yacht must be above 48S at some point between those to “goal posts”.

All is well onboard. Jeremy Smith is settling in nicely to his role as replacement to Curtis and Craig Satterthwaite, who started the leg on Sunday extremely ill with Tonsillitis, is starting to show some signs of life. He has literally been in a bunk since the start. Luckily the sea conditions have been very smooth so far and there hasn’t been much maneuvering.

That is it from the Black Pearl for the first half of February 20th. I’ll try to get Juggy to do the second half.

PC

Pirates of the Caribbean