On the dockside with fourth placed Pirates of the Caribbean

10 June 2006

Paul Cayard, (USA) – Skipper

“It is fantastic to see everyone here and to see the enthusiasm that the people of Rotterdam have for the race.”

“We have enjoyed six podium finishes in a row and I think we had it coming. Fourth is okay, we are still second overall and we have a couple more races to go.”

Dirk de Ridder, (NED) – Trimmer

“I am really amazed by the reception and surprised to see this many people turn out. Sailing in Holland is not that big, but in this last year and a half it seems to have made a big jump which I would largely put down to TEAM ABN AMRO – it is just great to see.”

Jerry Kirby, (USA) – Bowman

“I think you have to be a little philosophical about our performance and look at the whole team effort. It was an uphill battle from the start and considering the circumstances and problems we had we are in a good position. You also can

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

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

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

Position: 58,34.43N , 6,29.32W

Speed: 11 knots, Course: 39 deg.

We are finally moving again. We have been slating for the past six hours up here at a place called “The Butt of Lewis”. That says it all.

After so much high intensity sailing, 30000 miles around the world, this leg has been agonizingly slow for all the teams. The fleet has managed to sail 800 miles in 5 days. Not a good average for Volvo 70’s. We have not gotten one splash on the deck in 5 days.

In conditions like these, you have all kinds of situations where the wind magically evaporates, or shifts 90 degrees in the opposite direction it was trending for the previous hour, etc. Last night we also managed to snag two crab pots; we had to back down to free ourselves of one and the other eventually ripped off.

More disturbingly and importantly, we don’t seem to have good speed in light air. That is hard to believe because the Farr boats are supposed to be fast in light air but we haven’t been. I would say it is new to us also as we are usually good in light air. But this leg has been extraordinarily flat seas, and has been good for a true upwind Code 0 fractional sail and a masthead spinnaker that is very straight on the luff so it acts as a big genoa. Both of our sails in those categories are much more all around than the one’s of our competitors which are slanted more for the light conditions.

So it has been a long leg for us battling away in a position that we are not used to being in after the last few very successful legs. We just have to tough it out and do the best we can which is what we are doing.

Yesterday, ABN Amro One went through the fleet in 14 knots down wind like we were all on 60 footers. Sailed past us so fast we thought we had weed on the keel, (luckily we did not back down) and then she sailed right up to Brasil1, who was six miles ahead of us, and straight on past them. It must be nice to ride around on a rocket like that! It almost seems that the ABN boats are better in smooth seas than in rough and that is minimizing the fact that they are wide and should be slow in this light air.

By now you probably know that the Volvo Ocean Race Committee has shortened this leg. We are well overdue for our arrival in Rotterdam. At this point in time, even with the leg shortened by approximately 140 miles, we will still not arrive in Rotterdam until Saturday afternoon. The in port race is scheduled for Saturday 1300. We have not been informed of the “what if’s” on that one.

Brasil1 and Ericsson have maintained their lead on us and the “Second group” which includes ABN Amro Two and Brunel. We haven’t been able to catch the first group although we can see them every now and then which keeps us hopeful.

With the new course, we now have to pass through a narrow cannel at the top of Scotland that is about 2.5 miles wide. It is just to the north of 1000 meter mountains and the gradient wind direction is supposed to be South.

Further, there is a lot of current flowing through this cut so it will be important to be lucky here on the timing of our arrival. Our ETA as of now is 0400 Thursday.

>From there we have 450 miles to Rotterdam. The forecast is for light southerly breezes which means sailing upwind, tacking back and forth down the west side of the same high pressure system that plagued the fleet on the way out to Ireland.

Hopefully my in-laws, who live near Gothenburg Sweden, are getting some nice weather out of these poor sailing conditions.

We have been rationing our food for a few days now. We have just one meal a day. Ww have a few snacks and hot drinks to augment the one meal. We are not getting overly grumpy yet, but it is not the normal happy crowd.

I just came back to the nav station after helping change the spinnaker. The wind has died to 4 knots again.

Looks like another slow time coming up.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

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

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

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

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

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