A Rough 15 Hours

It has been a rough 15 hours out here. Yesterday afternoon the wind came up to 30 knots from the southeast and some rather large and steep waves built up. Port tack in particular was very rough. The Pearl was launching off the waves at 11 knots and slamming down hard making some awful sounds so we even slowed her down for a while. Maybe a bit shy from our leg 1 mishap but, no matter what, you can’t win if the boat breaks.

This morning we are back to full speed in the 15 knots of wind and significantly improved sea condition.

Yesterday we and Ericsson witnessed a pretty impressive display of boat speed by ABN 1. Around 11:00 local time they were one mile dead astern of us and we were the same 1 mile astern of Ericsson, all lined up on starboard tack. As the wind built from 8 to 20-25 knots, ABN simply sailed through our lee and that of Ericsson and back up in front of both of us and put another two miles on us by sunset. The ABN design is very good in conditions where stability is required. Unfortunately, I think that will be most of the time in these boats.

Life is all good onboard the Black Pearl. All are in good health and the boat is in good condition. We had one bit of damage on the first day with the radar being torn off the mast in a tack. Juggy, the man of all trades and skills, has relaminated the bracket twice and we will try to get it back on the mast in the light conditions that we are expecting tonight.

The weather has been surprisingly moderate, fairly warm air and sea temp (22C). We had a couple of flying fish land in the cockpit and flap around for a while until they eventually slithered back into the water out the back of the cockpit. There were a few rain showers which were very welcome by the crew as we were getting more salt water in our face and hair than we needed.

Regarding the tactics of the past 48 hours, most of the fleet has been arriving at the same conclusions, which is to work to the south east and then make a straight shot to the south to get the westerlies. The exception is Movistar who seems to be going far to the east. With the two options for course being 100 or 180 true, the Movistar course of 100 is rated best by the position report as the waypoint we are racing to is to the east-southeast. But this is of little importance, what does matter is who gets to the ice way points first and more importantly, who gets to the scoring waypoint at 70E longitude first. Most of us believe in the strategy of getting south to the highway of westerly winds and making big miles in a hurry to the east once we get there. We are going to pay the price now be transitioning the high pressure ridge which will have light winds. It is on the other side of this ridge that the westerlies lie.

Brasil1 has done a very nice job of playing the shifts in the past 24 hours and I think they are in the best position. We have been in a pack with Ericsson and ABN and we all tacked to port yesterday afternoon at the same time. ABN just stretched on us because of their speed and we stayed close with Ericsson until we throttled back a bit. Still, in the big picture, we are relatively in the same neighborhood.

So it will be interesting to see what happens tonight as the fleet transitions the ridge. This is a place were one boat can get a bit lucky.

One knot more wind when there is just 3 knots of wind is a lot. The wind will be very patchy and volatile for about 6 hours. The first boat out of the ridge and into the westerlies should stretch nicely on the fleet.

I am going to try to get some of the other guys to write some daily reports so you can get to know their personalities.

That is all for now.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Just got the position report. Looks like Ericsson either had to throttle back as well or had some other problem. ABN just keeps pouring it on and is now 11 miles straight in front of us. Movistar tacked and is quite a ways to the north. Jules and I think the race is to the south and finding the best way through the ridge. So we will be scouring the sat pictures and Quick scat. I will explain quick scat at another time. I need a nap.