Solid podium finish for the Pirates of the Caribbean

Yet another solid podium finish for Pirates of the Caribbean today coming in 2nd. ABN Amro One won the race and have clinched 1st place overall now.

The day started with 20 knots from the North West. We started on the left side of the line because we wanted to go left. The sky was marked by large clouds which would influence the wind heavily all day. The first big cloud and shift was to the left and we had approximately a 1 minute lead at the first windward mark.

We held the lead until the second downwind leg when a large gust filled the race course with 28 knots of wind. Naturally, this was precisely when we had to gybe and we had the biggest masthead spinnaker up. Just as in Cape Town, we could not manage the gybe without broaching and shredding our spinnaker. ABN Amro One passed us there and the rest of the race stayed pretty much the same.

One of our problems has been the speed with which our keel “cants” 40 degrees one side to 40 degrees the other. We have improved our system greatly since Cape Town but we are still half the speed of ABN and Brasil1. This makes the maneuver of gybing in big breeze, and without the help of waves which allow the boat to surf, very difficult.

Brasil1 finished third and ABN Amro Two finished fourth. Ericsson and Brunel rounded out the fleet.

In the big scheme of things, we had a great day. We beat the other boats who we are racing for second place. Now there are just two legs and one inshore to go and we have added to our solid second overall.

Our guests today were; Lady Gabriella Windsor – God Mother of the Black Pearl, James Cracknell – 2 time gold medalist in rowing from the UK and Mackenzie Crook, an actor from Pirates of the Caribbean and a show in the UK called The Office. They had a great time on board as there was plenty of action and high speeds.

The forecast for Friday’s start of Leg 8 looks light which will be welcomed by the fleet. Sailing around the British Isles could be very rough indeed so getting out West to Ireland in gentle breezes will get us past a potentially very rough part of the 1400 mile leg. There will be a lot of day light on Leg 8 as we start at 50 North and get up almost to 60 North when we round Faire Isle, a small little island between Scotland and the Shetland Islands. I have been to Fair Isle before while training with EF 9 years ago so in a strange way I am looking forward to going there again.

Tomorrow we will prepare all the provisions for the Leg and tomorrow night will be the prize giving for Leg 7. Wednesday is a corporate sailing day for us with our friends from Disney UK. Thursday is off for the sailors and Friday at 1730 is the start of Leg 8.

Now I am off to a good Italian dinner as I am starving..a state that I am in almost continuously these days.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Special Guests onboard when The Black Pearl takes to the in port starting line

The Pirates of the Caribbean will have three special guests onboard when The Black Pearl takes to the start line in the Solent for the in port race on bank holiday Monday, May 29th.

Joining the Pirates crew will be Lady Gabriella Windsor, Mackenzie Crook, who stars in Pirates of the Caribbean; Dead Man’s Chest and James Cracknell, Olympic gold medal rowing champion.

Skipper Paul Cayard commented: “After the tough transatlantic leg, we are looking forward to a fun and competitive inshore race. These boats are a blast when the wind is up and the racing is close.”

Lady Gabriella, the only daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, christened The Black Pearl in September. Lady Gabriella’s father Prince Michael of Kent is the third son of George Duke of Kent (the fifth son of George V and Queen Mary) and a cousin of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Mackenzie Crook stars as Ragetti in the new Pirates of the Caribbean film which will be in cinemas on 6th July, following the European Premiere in London on 3rd July. Crook is also well known for playing the character ‘Gareth’ in the BBC’s hit comedy, ‘The Office’.

James Cracknell is most recognised for bringing home gold medals in rowing from consecutive Olympics; a gold at the Sydney Olympics 2000 and gold at the Athens Olympics 2004. Cracknell also took part in the Atlantic Rowing Race last year, smashing the record for the transatlantic crossing.

Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, the host port for the UK stopover, will commence proceedings at 10.30am on 29th May with a yacht departure ceremony. The start gun will be fired at 13.00 and up to three hours of action packed racing out on the water will commence.

Almost there.

Position: 50,23.18N , 2,26.5W

Speed: 20 knots, Course: 70 deg.

We are currently 50 miles from Portsmouth and the end of Leg 7. As you know, I enjoy all the experiences that the Volvo Ocean Race has to hand out, from cold, wet and windy to the tropics – big speed to light air. But I have to say that this leg was not a lot fun and I will be happy to arrive in port safely with all my men and the boat in one piece.

There was the tragedy of May 18. We will never forget that night, being on the end of a computer terminal getting instructions and information about the horror just 50 miles away in the pitch black dark of night. Our crew had a few bangs and bruises and we got thrashed around the deck pretty good.

The boat got slammed around pretty hard right in the beginning of the leg up along Cape Cod and Nova Scotia and we had rough weather for nearly the entire last 1000 miles. You are never completely comfortable in these boats when they are slamming hard as the violence of the motion seems enough to destroy anything.

There were a few good moments, we finally cracked 40 knots of boat speed but even that as scary as we landed with a huge slam and cracking sound.

As for the racing, it is yet another solid podium performance for the Black Pearl. We are going to finish third cross the line, about 40 minute behind Ericsson. With Brasil1 and movistar behind us, we will add space to our second place overall position. There will likely be a hearing to redress the boats who suspended racing for a time to render assistance to ABN Amro Two during the tragedy. We and Brasil1 are two of the boats who did render assistance.

It will be a busy time during the next seven days as we must do a very thorough inspection of the structure of the boat, make any necessary repairs, do regular maintenance, and the train for the in-port race on Monday the 29th. We will also be hosting 1000 kids for our hallmark Pescanova Kids Day on Thursday the 26th.

So we have got a bit on this week.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

A good day once again

Position: 48,14.33N , 16,30.99W

Speed: 22 knots, Course: 53 deg.

May 19 has proven to be a good day once again. We have made steady gains on Brasil1 and Ericsson. Today happens to be my birthday. The first that I can remember spending at sea.

The mood onboard The Black Pearl has been somber today just as it is on all boats I am sure. A lot of reflection is going on.

We have had fairly strong winds today, up to 38 knots in the gusts. We sailed with our fractional spinnaker most of the day but have no taken it down now that it is dark and are sailing with double reef in the mainsail and a blast reacher. I am sure most of the other boats are doing the

same… throttling back.

We hit 39 knots 3 different times today. It is a pretty rough ride at these speeds. The sea way here is very short and steep. We have done plenty of nose dives burying the bow all the way back to the mast. I pushed the copy button to engage the stern mounted camera quite few times today.

We are now just 450 miles off Lizzard Point, the “gate”” we must pass through prior to heading to Portsmouth. There is a scoring gate where each place is worth 0.5 points. The coefficient for the leg finish in Portsmouth is 1.0.

A very sad day out here on the North Atlantic

Position: 46,47.73N , 28,17.59W

Speed: 18 knots, Course: 106 deg.

It was a very sad day out here on the North Atlantic. Words can not properly address the emotions that we all have inside of us, nor the magnitude of this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayer are with the crew of ABN2 and the family of Hans Horrevoets (NED), who left behind a wife and 2 year old daughter, I believe.

I will inform you of the events of the day.

First came word that there was a man over board situation, then the request for us to assist; we knew the situation was dire. Onboard the Black Pearl we immediately took down our spinnaker and began to turn back to assist ABN2. It is amazing how long this takes in the dark and 30 knots of wind. Alarming really. We battled upwind, putting reefs in our main. Then came word that the crew member had been recovered. Amazing! No word on his condition. We continue toward the location, then came word to stand down. We then turned back down wind to reorganize ourselves to resume racing. Then at about 0500 we got word that the crewmember concerned, had passed on. There was about 5 minutes of total silence in the pitch black of night as all ten of us huddled in the cockpit of the Black Pearl. Finally about an hour later, after next of kin had been notified, we learned that it was Hans who had perished. A very shocking and sobering three hours.

We have all thought about the possibility of falling over board. The reality is, that if you fall off of one of these boats the likelihood off being recovered is very low. It is a harsh world out here when it gets rough and these boats start doing excess of 30 knots. I think the crew of ABN2 should be given a special recognition from the highest levels of our sport for finding Hans in 40 minutes on a pitch black night with 4 meter waves.

Despite being in state of shock, we have been slowly ramping up our racing. First we had to get back into our watches. We were all hands on deck for about four hours so some guys did not sleep for 12 ours straight. Then we had to get the right sails up, keep the meal schedule going, and get back into our routine.

The wind came up to 40 knots today and the boat was getting pounded. Plenty of slamming and nose diving in the very short and steep waves. The force of the waves coming down the deck blew our main companionway hatch off its track. Another wave hit the stack of sails so hard it bent one of the stanchions over. The wind has abated no as the front has passed us so it will be a milder night, 25-30 knots are forecast. We are approaching tonight with an extra bit of caution.

We are all racing the boat but each of our minds drifts off to other thoughts. It will take a while to get back to 100% and it will be a night that none of us will ever forget.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Update 2 – We had a tough break a few hours ago

Position: 46,2.26N , 39,21.23W

Speed: 17 knots, Course: 35 deg.

We had a tough break a few hours ago. Our big mast head running spinnaker tore in half. There was no flogging or luffing, it just parted. It was blowing about 24 knots at the time. So now we have a smaller reaching sail on and we are sailing a higher angle to try to keep our speed up. This is going to cost us a bit for sure. How much depends on what the wind does over the next 6 hours while Justin Ferris and Dirk de Ridder repair the sail with our onboard sewing machine. I hope the wind comes up another couple of knots then we can put the fractional spinnaker on and be just fine.

Other than that, we ere having a good day, reeling in Brasil1 to 11 miles from the 40 mile lead they had on us yesterday. The wind has come up nicely today and we are making good miles toward England finally. It has been a very slow leg so far. It looks like we will do the first half of the leg in 6 days and the second half in about 3.5 days.

The general plan now is to sail to the northeast on port tack tonight then gybe tomorrow morning onto starboard and head east with southwesterly winds coming from a low pressure that is catching up to us. Then the wind really builds..maybe to 40 knots or more. The router is calling for gybes every 8 hours so that will be interesting to see how we decide to manage that. Do we just go straight or do we attempt the maneuvers? Naturally, the router wants us to gybe in the night.

So for now it is a bit of anxiety; waiting for the guys to finish the repair of the spinnaker and praying for the wind to come up so it doesn’t matter.

PC

Pirates of the Caribbean

We finally made some gains

Position: 44,14.94N , 43,52.24W

Speed: 15 knots, Course: 64 deg.

A pretty good day for the Black Pearl. We finally made some gains on Brasil1 and stretched bit on ABN2. The weather has been a “rich gets richer” scenario for the past few days but today everyone had a chance to make some gains. We all gybed a couple of times and repositioned ourselves so there were opportunities. This afternoon we all picked out slots for dealing with a high pressure ridge tonight. The safer route was also the longer route. We are in the middle as usually with Brasil lining up to be the closest to the light wind zone and ABN1 and Ericsson being the furthest and therefore safest.

We got a large piece of lumber stuck on our keel this morning so we had to drop the spinnaker, stop and back down in 22 knots of wind. It takes a while to recover with the right spinnaker back up and everything back to normal. We have gotten pretty good at backing down and figure that they only cost us about 2 miles. But it is amazing that we could hit a 2×2 in the middle of the ocean, hit it right in the middle of its 4 foot length, fold it in half around the keel and not have it come off.

Today we also got some speed up, real speed, first time since round the Horn really. We hit 26 knots and had the water rushing do the deck most of the afternoon. The waves were not very large but it really put a smile on everyone’s face to b going over 10 knots. I mean hear we are not quite half ay across the Atlantic and it is coming up on day 6.

Tonight we are back into some lighter winds as we approach a small high pressure ridge, we should get past that by tomorrow afternoon ad then the wind will ramp up and be 25-35 for Thursday and Friday. With any luck we will arrive in Portsmouth some time late Saturday night.

Right now we are 160 miles south-south east of Flemish Cap, a position made famous in the film “Perfect Storm”. It is a long way from Gloucester, Massachusetts, especially in a storm!

The sea temp is 16C so it is quite civil both on deck and below. We had sun all day today which was a treat. Pretty fun to be ripping along at 25 knots on a beautiful, sunny day, so many miles from no where.

A Norwegian ship was on a converging course with us for several miles this afternoon. I rang up the bridge on VHF16 and talked to them about our impending intersecting course. They were very nice to us an we passed in front without any problem. I had nice chat with the Captain. The ship was from Bergen ad the captain was intimately familiar with the race and commented on our speed; we were doing about 20 knots average at the time. They had delivered a load of Norwegian crude to New Orleans and were on their way back. Their course was up over the top of Scotland and into Bergen.

The wind is really dropping as I write this; down to 8 knots. Loosing the wind is always an anxious time. It should b dropping for all, except maybe Movistar who is in a different weather system.

That’s it for today. I m very tired right now and heading for sleep.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

We are setting some sort of record

Position: 41,59.6N , 51,35.36W

Speed: 10 knots, Course: 50 deg.

We are setting some sort of record for the fewest miles achieved in 5 days in these Volvo 70’s. We are currently 1023 miles from New York and we have been sailing for 4.5 days.

All day Monday was spent trying to get around the high pressure cell. The wind was very light and variable and it was a challenging day. Then in the late afternoon the wind finally built to 10 knots and we thought we were out of there. Not so fast, the wind has just died again and lifted us above course.

We are rationing our food as we only brought food for 9 days on this trip. We should be ok with diesel Juggy says so we should be able to keep the instruments going.

We had some nice dolphin playing with us today. They were fishing when we came up on them and then they came by for a visit.

ABN1 has sailed a very smart leg so far. I always say it doesn’t matter where they go but this time they definitely figured out the weather better than the rest of us. This is the type of weather scenario where the rich get richer for the next couple of days so ABN1 and Ericsson should be in good shape. We are trying to stay in touch with Brasil so we can try to make move on them near the end of the leg.

Apart from the wind, the weather has improved greatly in the last 40 hours. No more fog and the air temp is up to 9C. The sea is fairly smooth and we are running with a masthead gennaker. Really pretty nice conditions for the north Atlantic.

PC

Pirates of the Caribbean

Virtual Spectator Launches Pirates 3D Raceviewer

(Orlando, Fla-04/04/06)

Fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean team in the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 can now follow The Black Pearl from port to port in a compelling 3D environment. Virtual Spectator, a global innovator in 3D sports technology has announced the launch of Pirates 3D VS Raceviewer free for download at www.blackpearlracing.com.

The Pirates 3D VS Raceviewer has the look and feel of the team including unique Pirates graphics and colors. In addition to keeping an unpatched eye on The Black Pearl, users can track four interactive camera angles, accurately depicted boats (right down to sail selection), weather – including wind and boat speed and direction, isobars, rain, snow, and clouds – and race history.

Douglas L. King, Chairman and CEO of Virtual Spectator said, “Virtual Spectator is thrilled to work with Disney’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race. Paul Cayard and all the Pirates of the Caribbean team have an enormous following. We’re delighted to offer their fans an experience to follow this team.”

The Pirates 3D VS Raceviewer also offers video updates straight to the individual

Pirate Update-Mothers Day Edition

Position: 43,25.24N , 60,53.78W

Speed: 11 knots, Course: 127 deg.

Dear Mom,

Hope you have a great day and that your husband takes you out to lunch or dinner. Sorry I can’t be there to take you out myself.

I wonder if 47 years ago seems like yesterday to you? I can remember very vividly the days that Danny and Allie were born; 17 years ago. Seems like yesterday when you were there with Icka and me in the hospital in San Diego. I guess the moral is; “Time flies so enjoy it.”

We are slogging our way along, upwind, not making many miles in these first four days. It has been very cold, foggy, and generally miserable weather here off the north east coast. We finally got a bit of a wind shift to the left and are heading south east and getting away from the continent.

In the last 24 hours, the fleet has been spent tacking back and forth, reshuffling positions and setting up for a “lane” to take around a high pressure system that is building over Newfoundland. The choice of what “lane” to take is not easy. The closer you go to the high,-“inside lane” the shorter course you sail but you have less wind. The “further away from the center-“outside lane”-the longer course you sail but with more wind. Finding the right compromise is difficult. As you can see from the sked, Brasil is set up more to the inside (north in this case) while ABN1 and Ericsson are set up on the outside (south). The fleet will be making a 40 degree let turn over the next two days. We are in the middle so there is a good chance we won’t be first and we won’t be last in dealing with this feature.

There will be many features to deal with on this leg, many more opportunities to make gains and loses. The key is not to make any big losses early that could be impossible to recover from.

The sea is relatively smooth so the boat is not pounding as much today as yesterday. I am fairly anxious when the boat is pounding a lot because I keep wondering what will break. I guess I would rather have a slow leg with less risk of breaking and that is what it looks like we are going to have. I don’t think we will finish before the 21st, so that would be 11 days..pretty slow really.

I had hoped to come home from the Portsmouth stopover but I doubt that will be possible now with how slow the race is going. I’ll keep you posted.

Love Paul

Happy Mothers Day to all Pirate moms!