The end of another lap is near

Seahorse June 2006

The end of another lap is near. I am in New York right now about to depart for Portsmouth on leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race. It has been an adventurous trip and at times, a bit more eventful than necessary. But the race did not disappoint, and I have had another great experience that I won’t forget.

When I look back on the Pirates of the Caribbean project, the first thing that comes to mind is that we started only one year ago. It was on May 3, 2005 that I went to Burbank for that first meeting with Disney executives. We launched the boat 50 days before the first in port race. We almost sank on the first night of leg one. The boat “flew” to Cape Town. We thought we were going to sink on leg 2. We repaired the boat once and for all in Melbourne. Since then we have been on the podium every leg and every import race but one.

That track, a steadily uphill climb, has been very satisfying for me. I have been sailing for 40 years now. Figuring out what end of the starting line to start at or what jib to put up is not what excites me really. What I do enjoy the most is to put together a team, face challenges like the late start and all that came with it, the repairs, etc. deal with all the personal issues, manage the ups and the downs. And to find ourselves in second place overall is a beautiful thing. May be too good to be true. We will see. There are still three legs and 2 in port races to go. A lot can and will happen. The forecast out of New York today is for 25 knots form the east for two or three days. That will punish the boats and crews. A breakdown is always a possibility in these conditions. In any case, it has been a great ride.

Here in the USA we had to full compliment of Disney execs on The Black Pearl. First, Roy Disney came sailing with us for the Baltimore import. Then Dick Cook, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios and Mark Zoradi, President of Buena Vista International for the restart out of Annapolis, and yesterday, the big chief, Bob Iger came out for a ride on New York Harbor. Disney has truly enjoyed their participation in the race and been exposed to something that they would never have thought of 5 years ago. Kudos to Glenn Bourke and his team at VOR for presenting this idea to Disney.

My plans for the future? Professionally, I have no big projects planned and that is fine with me. I will sail a couple of regattas this summer with George Andreadis on his new TP 52 Atalanti. Russell Coutts will be onboard as well so maybe we can conspire something. Personally, I want to speed a good chunk of the next two years around home and my family. My kids, Danny and Allie, are in their last two years of high school. They are driving cars, dating, having a few drinks, and of course trying to do well in school to get into a good university, all the usual teenager stuff. I want to be near them, be their friend, help them with all of that. They are both very active and good sailors. Today they leave for the US High School National Championship in Detroit. Last year they came fifth. I want to go to these events with them next year. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have spent plenty of months following my own career. There is a cost to that and now it is time to invest in the family. Later this summer, I will go visit a few universities with my son. He wants to go to school in Southern California. My daughter, who is a year younger, wants to go to New York University to study interior design. They will be gone from the nest in 24 months so now is the time.

I would definitely like to take on another project in the future. Maybe the Cup, maybe a new event. We will see. As I said before, now at 47 years of age, what I like is having a

goal, building a team to take it on and then living and managing the path to success. That is the most satisfying thing for me. Sure, I still like sailing, but I like the team side the most. I thought I might like to sail the double handed round the world race, but right now, sitting here thinking about going upwind in 25 true in a flat bottomed boat for two days, that doesn’t sound very appealing to me.

So for now, I am concentrating on finishing strong in the Volvo Ocean Race. Five weeks left to go to Gothenberg. Torben is breathing down my neck, again. He is tough. Bouwe Bekking has a fast boat in Movistar. ABN1 is gone…different class of boat. Congratulations to them and especially Juan K, they won the race before it ever started. That is the way to do it.

OK. I am heading down to The Pearl. See you in Portsmouth.

Paul Cayard

Captain

The Black Pearl

500 miles of this 1400 mile leg in four days

Position: 54,55.98N , 9,46.3W

Speed: 13 knots, Course: 51 deg.

I apologize for not writing a daily report yesterday. From 1600 Sunday to 1600 Monday, Jules and I never slept. So when we finally got our chance, we went for it. I have just woken up from 12 hours of sleep. I feel like a new man.

As you know by now, this has been an incredibly slow leg. I won’t go into all the details but suffice it to say that there have been many tricky moments, tough decisions about whether it is better to go to shore or stay offshore and we have been stung and rewarded for both.

We normally eat three meals a day out here but because this leg is taking so long, we missed one meal yesterday and will miss one again tomorrow in order to make food for Friday and Saturday.

The big picture is that we have sailed about 500 miles of this 1400 mile leg in four days. The forecast has a couple more complete drifting sessions left for us in this final 900 miles. There is lots of racing left. Probably more than anyone out here wants.

We have been struggling all leg with our speed. On Sunday, the three Farr boats were side by side, drifting. As the breeze slowly filled to 6 knots, Brasil1 was the fastest, Ericsson second fastest and we were down right slow.

We were sailing upwind. Brasil1 stretched out to a 6 mile advantage over us in 4 hours. We stopped to send Anthony over the side to look at the foils as we have forgotten our endoscope. It was very frustrating to watch these two sail away from us and then to have the “slow light air boats” the ABN’s and Brunel, sail right up to us. The ABN’s have upwind Code 0’s and they have worked on this leg because the sea has been so flat.

Yesterday morning we played the coastal effects real well and got ahead the ABN’s and Brunel as we finally passed Fastnet rock and sailed along the southern coast of Ireland. There are some incredible castles and old forts along the rugged coast line. I did manage to enjoy the spectacular scenery despite my frustration at how Brasil1 and Ericsson had left us and were some 10 miles ahead.

Yesterday afternoon the breeze filled in and ABN Amro One was just plain faster than us on a flat run in 16 knots of wind. This is the first time we have seen anyone out run us. This again raised the anxiety level in me as we were finally on a point of sail that we should make some gains and were not.

This morning, ABN Amro One has continued to sail away from us in 15 knots of wind, flat running, and has now sailed right up along side of Brasil1. This eases my anxiety as it is just that ABN Amro One is a rocket not that we are going that badly.

“Do we have something on the bottom? No endoscope so we don’t know. Should we back down?” This is the discussion on our boat for three days now.

Backing down involved stopping the boat and making it go backwards. This usually costs about 1 mile compared to someone who goes straight during that period.

Needless to say, every time we come to a near stop due to lack of wind, which has occurred a couple of times already on this leg and will occur a couple of more times looking at the forecast, we send Anthony in to check everything.

Right now we can see the whole fleet. Through last night, us tail enders got brought up closer to Brasil1 and Ericsson. They are about 6 miles ahead of us now rather than the 10 of yesterday. This gives me some comfort as I need to find a way to stay close to Brasil1, if not beat them, on this leg.

The short term forecast is for the 14 knot winds which we have enjoyed last night to start dropping off this afternoon and we head into an area of no wind again tomorrow. Tomorrow night a broken down cold front will likely bring us 15 knots again as we approach Fair Isle, the rounding mark at the top of Scotland. Then it is 450 miles to Rotterdam. The current router has us arriving at 11:00 local time Saturday. This is not a very reliable forecast but it does say that we will arrive two hours before the start of the Rotterdam iiport race. That should make for an interesting set of circumstances.

Anyway, taking a deep breath and stepping back from the minutia of my problems, I realize that today is “D-Day” and I am thinking of all the young men who lost their lives on this day some 61 years ago, on beaches not far from here. That was a tough time.

That puts a lot of perspective on things.

Now let me see again how it is going; It is a beautiful day, the sun in shinning in Northern Ireland, we are in a sailboat race, the boat is moving forward, all are safe and well onboard the Black Pearl.

There is nothing more to say than we are blessed to live the lives we live no matter when we get to Rotterdam.

PC

Pirates of the Caribbean

So far this leg has been a real contrast to all the previous legs

This leg is all about the extremes of the Volvo. Three days of sailing 427 nm sailed. When we came through here a few weeks ago it was a wild finish to one of the most intense legs of any around the world race to date. At this point we have barely had a wave over the bow. The benefit has been the chance to appreciate the rugged coast of Devon and Cornwall, the sea life and fisherman in the Irish Sea. Then this morning I got the chance to spend a couple of hours up the rig spotting wind and kicking the battens through after every gybe. We had abn1,abn2 and Brunel all just boat lengths away.

The racing was great but the Irish coast was spectacular. The sunrise exposed one of the most rugged and beautiful coasts you can imagine. It is easy to see why Roy Disney has a home in Kinsale. We all gybed in and out of every bay to take advantage of the shifts. Although at the end of the day it felt like the four boats had just done a coastal tour of Southern Ireland. I am sure there will be some hard miles ahead but so far this leg has been a real contrast to all the previous legs.

Things on board are great with the exception we are half way through our food with not even a third of the race completed. If things don’t pick up we may have to sail straight to Sweden.

That would upset Cheese because he really wants to sail into his home country and have some time to enjoy Holland.

Murph we got your e-mail, it sounds like the compound is great. I just hope we get to see it before we leave for Sweden.

Jerry Kirby

Going even slower today.

Position: 50,27.8N , 7,42.85W

Speed: 4 knots, Course: 345 deg.

The wind has been between none and 3 knots all morning. We are drifting our way across the Irish Sea. We were very lucky and caught Ericsson yesterday just before sunset. They had gone straight across the bay between Lizard Point and Start Point while Brasil, Pirates and the rest of the fleet went a little deeper into the bay. In the afternoon, we al benefited from a land breeze coming off the shore and sailed a much faster course arriving at Lizard at the same time that Ericsson did.

All night last night, it has been a see saw battle with the three Farr boats. The ABN boats and Brunel are out of sight, to the north east.

There is not a lot to do strategically but battle through these light winds and wait for the high pressure to move over us and off to the east. We should get some light southwesterly’s once the high moves over us. That will allow us to make progress to the south western tip of Ireland and then we will be running up the west coast, still in fairly light winds. Later a front will reach us and bring fresher westerlies and north westerlies.

At this point, we are looking at rationing food. We brought food for six days which would have been one day more than needed. We won’t starve but a bit of food management is prudent at this point.

Our basic strategy is to stay close to Brasil on this leg. The weather is quite volatile and variable so we just don’t want to risk a big separation with them. If we are right behind them, we essentially move foreword in closing down on second place over all. If we beat them, then that is obviously better.

We have gybed now and are on port tack with light winds from the southwest.This may mean that the center of the high has passed us and we are on the road to a bit faster progress. Always good to try to maintain an optimistic attitude in these trying circumstances.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Drifting down the Channel

Position: 50,7.13N , 3,55.31W

Speed: 6 knots, Course: 279 deg.

Slow going so far.

We are about 20 hours into this race and we have gone 120 miles… about the same as one good 6 hour sked in these boats.

It was a reaching start yesterday and ABN Amro Two got the best position and lead for the first 30 minutes. Then the wind died as we transitioned from the sea breeze of the eastern Solent to that of the western Solent. We managed to grab the lead through that transition only to be passed by Brasil1 after 15 minutes of pleasure. We slowly slid back in the fleet and finally came to realize that we had something on the foils.

Saga number one; we have somehow forgotten our endoscope, the device that allows you so see the foils from inside the boat. So the only way we can be completely sure if we are clean on this leg is to back down. So back down number one in the Solent. Still not going well and Ericsson and ABN Amro Two passing us by Hearst Castle at the western end of the Solent. On back down number two, we also sent Anthony into the water to make sure we were clean.

Luckily he went in as we had some garbage stuck in our propeller door which would not have come off with a back down.

After the second back down we seemed to be going ok. Through the night, the wind died and came from the north. We came close to needing to anchor but just managed to keep forward progress in the 3 knot winds. The fleet reshuffled a couple of times through it all, Brasil1 had a lead of 3 miles at one point, then ended up behind us. Ericsson took off on the fleet early this morning by getting closer to land. They are now about 8 miles ahead of the rest of us who are all within 2 miles.

The ABN boats have very good light air sails (Code 0 and masthead tight-reaching spinnaker), as light air is their weakness. Right now they are hanging with us in a condition that they should not, because of their sails. Our light air sails are not particularly good, as we have slanted our designs and sizing for more wind. We saw this a bit on Leg 5, from Rio, too.

The forecast is for very light wind over the next 40 hours as we battle our way through a stationary high pressure cell that is in the Irish Sea.

Contrary to what you may think, the light air is difficult sailing. We are constantly stacking the boat one way or the other in order to induce heel. It seems slow to cant the keel to leeward so we try to get the heel we need with stacking the gear to leeward. Also, light air is difficult helming conditions requiring a lot of concentration. The good news is that we are not slamming the boat around and having her make scary noises.

Looks like it is going to be a long one. Maybe in two days we will start making some decent speed up the west coast of Ireland.

Drifting down the Channel,

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirate Wife Life

The tear in her eye is hidden in smile

As they grab their last kiss and hug for a while

She wishing for more , but she’s stoic in style.

With glassy eye, but her head held high

As the boat clears the dock, she waves goodbye

And the band finishes its fanfare, the crowd shuffles dry

Preceeding days are lost in the pack

And last minute details she has to track,

He’s heading to sea again, and a month till he’s back.

The house seems empty when he’s not here,

She keeps the kids busy and gives them good cheer

But they wander about hoping dad will appear.

Now their in bed, the lights are dim,

She really misses this private time with him.

Her thoughts drift way out to the ocean,

Wishing him safe, she sends love through wave motion,

The separation strengthens devotion.

Its their happy moments she is yearning,

Its no easy job keeping home fires burning,

Patiently waiting till her bloke is returning.

Though long times away is a trial,

Each star he sees as he crosses the miles

Is a picture of home,which brings him a smile.

He thinks of them constantly and is caring

Hoping things are ok, with their kids she is rearing

Wondering each day how they are faring.

The bad weather clears and dolphins bring pleasures

Nearing the end the crew are taking measures

To do a good job, then get home to our treasures.

Home to the loves of our life,

Children and Wife.

“HOME IS THE SAILOR , HOME FROM THE SEA,

AND THE HUNTER IS HOME FROM THE HILL”

–Tennyson

—-For Kerry From Jug xx

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 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