We are still out here with 6.5 miles to go.

Position: 52,9.58N , 4,4.97E

Speed: 12 knots, Course: 183 deg.

I just had my usual leg end chat to the crew and I thanked them for their tenacity. This leg has been a real test; a mental test. We got separated from the lead pack and could never catch up. The writing has been on the wall for a couple of days that we would not win the leg and in fact the best we could do was finish 4th. It looks like we will achieve 4th and we have to be happy with that. We ran low on food, diesel as no one predicted this leg to take this long. It is over now.

We have enjoyed a string of 2nds and 3rds and now we slipped from the podium for the first time since March. That’s ok. Brasil1 sailed a great leg and our congratulations go to them. Well done guys! We have lost 3 points of our lead over Brasil1 and that’s ok. We have two races left to go and we will be putting our best effort in as usual and I think we will come out of this just fine.

This will not be the usual arrival after 8 days of racing. We will not be celebrating and relaxing. Rather we will be working as fast as we can to prepare the boat for tomorrow mornings in-port race. We have to completely unload all the offshore gear, rafts, emergency rudder, survival suits, change some sails, clean the boat inside and out, clean the bottom, etc.

The shore team will obviously be working at full force to help us out with this.

So that’s a wrap as they say in Hollywood.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Things are looking up. The end is near

Position: 55,19.86N , 1,53.3E

Speed: 11 knots, Course: 173 deg.

We finally have some good steady breeze, and maybe, just maybe, we are done with all the weirdness. Were are on port tack sailing fast on the wind, that is 11.5 knots, and aiming just below the last mark which bears 156 degrees. At this speed, if it holds, we could finish at 1400 local time Saturday.

We lost a bit on Brunel in the last two skeds. Not sure exactly why, but I think we have the upper hand now. They are to leeward and behind the beam so were are sailing a bit “fat” trying to gain bearing on them expecting the wind to lift to 090 which is what the lead group has.

We have stacked absolutely everything we can to gain righting moment. Both Brunel and ABN2 are wider boats than us so in this power sailing, they may be faster. Strangely, I notice that ABN1, which is usually about 1 knot faster than the Farr boats in this condition, lost some ground to Brasil1 and Ericsson on the last sked.

Immediately after finishing tomorrow afternoon, we will have to begin getting organized for the import race on Sunday. Our shore team will meet us at the finish and start helping. We will be about 10 hours behind the lead group when we finish this leg so time will be tight.

We are pretty happy to see this speed because we can now eat once every 9 hours and Juggy says we should have enough diesel to keep the instruments going all the way to the finish.

Needless to say, we are all looking forward to finally getting to Holland. Our shore team says the facilities are great so we are looking forward to our four days there.

Things are looking up. The end is near.

PC

We have to conserve on things

Position: 58,1.31N , 2,21.22W

Speed: 9 knots, Course: 141 deg.

We are hanging in there despite how absurd this leg has gotten. We have been parked up at least once every twelve hours in the last two days. Today we had a complete park up after the getting through the cut at the top of Scotland. We were supposed to be on our bike after that, like the front three, but we got another hole to deal with. We will probably have another park up tonight as we are now sailing in a sea breeze local to the coast here and will have to make the transition to the gradient tonight. Reshuffle again with ABN2 and Brunel.

We got separated from Brasil and Ericsson on the way over to Ireland last weekend and never have been able to catch up to them in any of the park ups. ABN1, who was back with us, smoked right on up to them on the only steady breeze afternoon. With this mornings’ park up for us, the front three just poured on another 40 miles as they sailed away in a steady southerly while we slatted with Brunel and ABN2. They are now close to a hundred miles ahead and pretty much out of reach even under these strange circumstances.

The wind has almost never done what the forecast indicated, at least no where we were. It has been a real guessing game to try to figure out what will happen next.

As we have four meals left and 400 miles to go, we have rationed the food to one meal for every hundred miles. At this speed, we don’t eat often. It is slim pickens for us from now until the finish, whenever that will be. We are also low on diesel to run the generator and to make electricity so we have to conserve on things that consume power like the computer screens, keel canting, etc.

Other than that, we are fighting on at every change of wind direction and velocity, stacking and restacking the boat, moving sails from on deck to below, from forward to aft, from port to starboard. Just a lot of work in these variable conditions. It is impressive how the human spirit never gives up.

PC

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.