Join Kimo Worthington, General Manager of The Pirates of the Caribbean for a virtual tour of The Black Pearl.

Kimo swaps his mobile phone for a microphone, to take you on a tour of our team’s impressive VO70 through The Black Pearl website.

Kimo will take you down below to see the sailors’ sleeping quarters, the ‘galley’, nav station and the even the head!

To tour The Black Pearl, visit and click on ‘The Boat’ – welcome aboard!

Position: 23,26.35N , 61,9.30W

Speed: 14 knots, Course: 303 deg.

What a day! It all started off just as great as yesterday ended. The Pearl making gains on the competition, nice easy trade winds sailing, warm and sunny. Then in a one hour period, the spinnaker we had trouble with yesterday started parting at the seams after 30 minutes of use. Take it down, put up something else and Justin and Dirk out of the watch system for the third time in three days.

Then, the batteries were completely flat. Somehow, in a period of 2 hours max, we went from a full 24 volts to just 8 volts. Luckily we got the generator started but it took about 2 hours to get the batteries to a level where we could draw on them. Juggy found a wire that had come loose so we are hopeful that he found the problem. We will know tomorrow after seeing how the voltage holds up tonight. So we had no instruments or any electronics for about four hours. At the same time we had a problem with our keel canting mechanism that was also electronically related.

And of course all this happened right when the wind began to shift a lot and Jules and I needed to focus on the weather and tactics. So it has been a long day to say the least.

As of now, we have the keel working, the spinnaker fixed, and the batteries fully charged. We still don’t have some of our instruments working like radar and our Deckman routing tool as the main instrument package is down and we are running on the back up system.

Everyone is pretty tired so we need some stable conditions in order to get everyone a bit of sleep. However, the wind has just come up to 30 knots so it is not a time to relax. 30 knot is right on the edge of being too much for the masthead spinnaker so we may have to take it down and put up a fractional spinnaker just to prevent any further issues. My experience from

1997-1998 tells me that we can’t afford anymore major issues for a while.

Meanwhile, we are supposed to be looking outside the boat and figuring out what the weather is going to do and what our competitors have and are going to do. The weather we have is nothing like any of the forecasts, so we

won’t be relying on them. At the last sked, ABN Amro One and Movistar had gotten out of the hole we were all in and extended their lead on us. The rest of us were still stuck in the disintegrating low pressure cell. We got moving about 3 hours ago, so I hope we have stopped the bleeding with ABN Amro One and Movistar and we should have stretched on Brasil1 and Ericsson if the trend remained.

We are not really sure what the weather is going to do and the last few GRIBs have all been in conflict with each other and none has really proven to be accurate. So for now, we are going on the tack that is most direct to Baltimore.

I am going to put my head down for a few minutes before the sked comes.


Pirates of the Caribbean

Position: 16,43.19N , 56,39.4W

Speed: 18 knots, Course: 330 deg.

Progress onboard the Black Pearl has been going well over the past 48 hours. We got out of out weak angles and into our fast sails. We have managed to put miles on almost everyone including ABN1 at times. The conditions are reaching with masthead gennaker at 130-135 True Wind Angle in 16-22 knots of wind. We do get the occasional squall with winds up to 30 knots and this usually comes with a 10 degree header for the first hour and then a 10 degree lift for the second hour. We usually just ride those out with the sail that we have up at the time.

The leaders have sailed a bit lower than us over the past twelve hours and that puts us as the most “right handed” boat on the track. We will sail a lower course over this next 6 hours to gain bearing on those behind and get them tucked away a bit more.

There is a small new low pressure system being born over Cuba and this will serve as “Wall” for the fleet, limiting how far west you can go. When on a northerly course in the northern hemisphere, you want to pass on the east side of a low to get the southerly and southeasterly winds rather than the head winds on the west side.

The sailing has been spectacular. Not “ripping” exciting like in the Southern Ocean, but just pleasant 27 C water and air temperature, broad reaching through life. I have been sailing mostly in shorts and a silk weight T-shirt, day and night. We have a full moon right now so at night that boat is lit up as if it were on the infield at Camden Yards during a night game.

Every once in a while you have to take a deep breath and look outside the race and realize how special this experience is. Sometimes it is the cold, the waves and the speed that is exceptional. These days it is the idyllic Caribbean Cruise. I think that is the benefit of being older, realizing that these races are more than races, they are exception life experiences. It would be extremely short sided not to acknowledge how lucky we are to get to race on a boat like this.

We have had a few issues with one sail and this has had Justin Ferris and Dirk De Ridder busy with the sewing machine for 5 hours the first time and 2.5 hours the second time. Both times we were fortunate to be able to go to another sail and not loose much, if anything, because the conditions also changed in our favor at that exact time. It is as if someone was trying to tell us to change sails. Maybe there is some Karma working as we cross our home turf the Caribbean. Today we are literally crossing the Caribbean. In a boat like this you sail across the eastern side of the entire West Indies(500 nautical miles) in 24 hours.

The Caribbean Cruise will end in about 24 hours and we will have two tricky situations meteorologically over the next three days. The first is a small low forming over Cuba that we have to make sure we leave to our West but get close enough to get some extra wind from. The second is a high pressure cell that will ridge in behind and above the low. We will have to find the fastest way through the middle of that as there is no way to go around it. So it will go very light for a time in the middle of that ridge. After that we should be left with westerly’s that will take us up the Gulf Stream and to Cape Hateras and the entrance of the Chesapeake. What happens in the Chesapeake is a little hard to know at this point but if past experience in any use, anything can happen there. I don’t think anyone will rest easily until they cross the finish line on this leg.


Pirates of the Caribbean

Position: 7,8.77N , 46,55.96W

Speed: 17 knots, Course: 311 deg.

We had been stressed about our lack of speed for long enough. Brasil1 kept putting miles on us and Ericsson was getting closer. Even though we could not see anything on the keel or rudder, we decided the only way to get the possibility that there was something still on there was to stop the boat and send a couple of guys in. A few days ago we hooked a long line that seemed to have all come off but we started talking ourselves into all kinds of possibilities like maybe there is still a piece of monofilament line on there that we can’t see, or that maybe there was some damage to the bottom of the hull that we could not see with the endoscope.

So at 1700 local time, we stopped the boat and Erle Williams and Anthony Merrington went in. The conditions were fairly tame, 13 knots of wind and smooth seas. Putting people in the water is never something to take lightly at sea. We discussed the whole maneuver before hand, set up ropes that hung over the entire length of the boat on each side, and had one crew member dedicated to watching and assisting each swimmer. The whole operation went smoothly. Fortunately or unfortunately, they found nothing.

From the time we headed up into the wind until we had all the sails back up

and sailing at speed on course was a total of five minutes. Since we were doing about 15 knots at the time, that operation cost us about 1.25 miles. Considering that we still have 2500 miles to go, it was worth the cost to have piece of mind.

So why have we been slow? I think we have a weak spot in our sail inventory and we have been sailing right in that spot for the past 30 hours. Basically it is 85-100 true wind angle at 14-17 knots. That should be the area covered by a sail called the R2 and ours just doesn’t seem very fast. Obviously we have been talking about that sail a lot and have some thoughts on how to improve it.

Despite the team swim, we managed to gain a couple of miles on Movistar and Brasil on the lat sked. Ericsson still gained on us as did ABN2 for the first time but it looks like they had more wind behind. We are not on the R2 anymore and we feel like we are going well again.

The forecast for the next 24 hours is for the wind to lift so we will be going from 100 degrees of True-Wind-Angle to 130 degrees of TWA over the next 12 hours. This will require us to change sails a couple of times to “Step” down from a headsail to the right spinnaker.

The conditions tonight are superb. Almost full moon, flat seas, 16 knots of wind, 25 C air temperature and we are reaching along doing 17 knots. Hard to beat that! Life inside the boat is getting better. The sea temp is down another degree to 27.7. We are almost sleeping during the day.

As far as sea life goes, last night we were attacked by flying fish. One center punched Craig Satterthwaite right between the eyes and knocked him down. Another one hit Ian Budgen in the arm. These little rockets fly in the daytime too but they are attracted to the lights on our instruments at night and come flying at the boat. They are very hard headed so they hurt when they hit you, sometimes at speed up to 20 knots.

Dinner is on the boil, literally. No matter how boring it is to eat the same food for two weeks, you are always looking forward to meal time out here. The midnight weather is coming up to so Jules and I will be working on that for an hour or so.

For your enjoyment, I am enclosing some photos from King Neptune’s visit a couple of days ago.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

We have had Brasil in sight all day and they have been making slow but steady gains on us. We have tried everything, different sails, different trim and shapes, different helmsmen. They are just 1 mile away so we can see what sails they have up and they appear to be the same as ours but yet, they are going a bit faster. They will pass us very soon. Pretty frustrating. Hopefully the wind angle or wind speed will change soon and we get a better match up against them.

The story up front continues to be the same with ABN1. They are just a lot faster than the rest of the fleet. Movistar is a fast boat too but no match for ABN.

Last night there were plenty of squalls, and after getting hammered by one and loosing 5 miles to the fleet on one sked, we managed to get the good side of the next two and make some big gains on the next sked, mostly on Ericsson who were right behind us all day. I am hoping for some squalls tonight so we can have a chance to break this routine with Brasil.

King Neptune did visit the Pearl yesterday. He interrogated the first timers; Ferris, Salter and Budgen. They were all sentenced and the appropriate punishments were carried out. After the punishments were handed out, they were welcomed into the Northern Hemisphere by King (Kirby) Neptune and his assistant Count Williams who between them have almost 100 years of experience. They have all recovered now and are functioning normally in their roles onboard.

On another note, here is an excerpt from a very nice email that I want to share with you;

Hey there Pirates!

My class has been following you around the world. We’ve enjoyed your mails and keeping track of where you are. As you report to me, I share the info with my class, then they give weekly reports to our school (550 students) on morning announcements via closed circuit TV. One lucky student gets to wear the pirate hat while making his/her part of the announcement. It’s been a fun and interesting project for us.

I just wanted to share this with you, to encourage you on this leg, and let you know that, here in Annapolis, you have a cheering squad awaiting your arrival. Good luck on the rest of this leg and beyond!

Jeanne Olsen

Windsor Farm Elementary School


It is nice to know that we occupy a little space in hearts of these kids.

The sky is still overcast as we have not completely broken out of the Doldrums region. We have good winds; 13 knots, but from a very northerly direction and this is forcing the fleet to sail a very westerly route. We continue to sail wide angles to keep our boat speed up. Speed is the name of the game here. This will take us closer to the Caribbean than normal.

The winds should start to lift in the next 24 hours and we will then aim up more directly toward Baltimore. For the next four days we should be in the trades sailing mostly 80-110 true wind angle in 15-20 knots. This is where stability counts and that is why ABN1 is so fast. There is little strategy to apply here.speed is king. As we approach the east coast, we will have to deal with more dynamic weather features and then there will be some options and decisions to make tactically.

Life onboard is ok..a bit frustrating with the speed thing. Not as hot today. Water temp is down to 28.2C. Not a lot of physical activity, just straight line sailing with jibs, staysails and mainsails.


Pirates of the Caribbean

It was a stressful couple of days for us on the Pearl. The boat was not going very fast and we tried everything to get her going but to no avail. We also did get hit by more than our fair share of “parking lots” partly our fault and partly bad luck. Our competitors kept gaining on us and Ericsson was threatening to pass us last night just before the scoring gate at Noronha. That would have added a lot more pain to the frustration but fortunately we decided that if they were going to pass us they would have to go through us to leeward. So we just sailed up in front of them and planted our boat between them and Noronha with about 20 miles to go, shutting down the passing lane. They closed in to within 2 miles of us but that was as close as it got.

Of course we are puzzled by our lack of performance. We never really had a speed problem against boats like Ericsson or Brasil1 which are the same design as the Pearl.

Later, after rounding Noronha, we got hit by a few squalls which were packing 25 knots of wind. In one squall, while hitting 30 knots of boat speed, we noticed a large vibration from under the hull. Then suddenly it was gone. We don’t know if it was something that we had been dragging for two days or something we caught then and there. Of course we had checked out foils during the past two days and saw nothing. (We do that with an endoscope through a fitting in the bottom of the hull).

Anyway, we seem to be going well now.

We are approaching the Equator and will cross in just a few hours. This is another one of those big “landmarks” on an around the world passage. Three of our crew will be making the crossing for the first time; Jules Salter, Ian Budgen and Justin Ferris. We are expecting a visit King Neptune in a few hours for the ceremonial induction of these three.

On the weather front, Jules and I are working on the Doldrums crossing. As luck would have it, we will be crossing under a large cloud mass. The whole fleet is so close together that we should all get more or less the same weather. Normally you would like to have the good fortune of crossing in a gap between the largest clouds masses. These cloud masses undulate and appear and disappear without much pattern. So it is hard to say; “Oh, there is the bad spot, I will just go over here and have plenty of wind.” We are using the satellite pictures and the “quick scat” to try to pick our best point of crossing. However, as nothing is for sure about forecasting the best place to cross, the default setting is to sail your fastest course for the wind speed you have making the most distance toward Baltimore. That is the only thing that is for sure. For me, I don’t like deviating from the wind angle that generates the most boat speed toward “the barn” unless I have some very reliable information that justifies that investment.

Quick Scat is a satellite based, radar reading of the water surface in super fine resolution. From this reading, the software can discern, with very good accuracy, what the actual wind direction and speeds were at the point in time that the “picture” was taken. By the time we get the Quick Scat, it is rather “old” information, usually about 12 hours old, but it is helpful when used in correlation with Satellite pictures and the GRIB files.

The heat is down a bit today as we are under the high overcast of the Doldrums area. Life onboard is ok despite the heat. The crew are sleeping ok and the ride has been very tame. We may get some strong winds tonight under the squalls of the Doldrums. In these situations you need a versatile set up as the wind may go from 5 knots to 35 knots and back again in 10 minutes. We are planning now what will be the right set up on deck to handle those wind speeds at the angles we expect.

Yesterday we were treated to a little wildlife show. Some type of bird.looking like a miniature Albatross, but very fast and agile, were playing a game of tag or similar. One would chase the other and the one being chased would escape by eventually diving in the water from 50 feet up in the air and go down about 8 feet under water. It was impressive to see these little missiles pierce the water at that speed. When they weren’t playing tag, they were fishing using the same diving technique.

We are expecting the Pearl to gain an extra step to her pace as she starts to close in on her home turf.”The Caribbean”. There may be some good karma coming our way. It would not feel undeserved after the frustrating past couple of days.

Stay tuned.

Captain Paul

Pirates of the Caribbean

Position: 13,4.11S , 35,39.36W

Speed: 13 knots, Course: 34 deg.

It was a light a variable day today with winds as light as 3 knots. There is always a lot of anxiety when you have that little wind as you wonder what everyone else has. Today we had to fight our way through a large cell of little to no wind in order to hook into the trades.

We could see the cumulus clouds that mark the trades all day, but at boat speeds that we as low as 3 knots at times, it took us all day to go 40 miles. About 1600 local time we went under a cloud line and on the other side were the beautiful trades waiting to take us away.

We are now doing 12 knots of speed in 9 knots of wind at 80 true wind angle. These boats are machines in this wind speed.

All in all we had a pretty good day against the fleet today. At the 1000 sked, there was compression as we all closed in on Movistar who hit the light patch first. On the 1600 sked ABN1 and Ericsson made a nice move on the west side of the group, probably getting to leeward of a cloud that had rain coming out of it. On the 2200 sked, movistar extended 3 miles on us and ABN 1 gained one mile on us and we gained on the rest of the fleet.They still had very light wind at the time of the sked so we may have extended even more since then.

We are now kind of on autopilot for the next 48 hours. We are aiming straight at Fernando de Noronha, the island off Brazil that we have to leave to port and will count as a scoring gate. The wind will lift and head a little over the course to Fernando but there are no more major tactical decisions left to make until we leave Fernando. So it is all about setting the boat up to get maximum performance for the given wind speed and angle.

The sea is smooth so good for sleeping. And that is where I am off to next.



Position: 16,27.85S , 37,42.62W

Speed: 9 knots, Course: 54 deg.

Russian Roulette is more like it than sailing. Large clouds dominate the scene and the wind is light and variable. When it is this light, and while you are making the best of what you have, you can’t help thinking that the other guys have more wind than you do. You don’t ever really know where they are heading and you only know where they are once every six hours. So making decision about where to position your boat is tough. You almost have to just play the wind you have without regard to the fleet which makes this a high stakes game. If a cloud give you a different wind for 3 hours and takes you off the best course, you would never know it until it was too late and you can get big splits quickly in these boats.

We spent most of the day sailing on the tack that took us most north. The wind direction has been oscillating between 210 and 180 true. Also, our weather information makes us believe there is better breeze about 70 miles off the coast rather than say 150 miles off. So we have worked port tack more than starboard and maybe we have done alright.

We caught a rather thick piece of kelp on our rudder this afternoon and had to stop the boat and get Anthony in the water again. He did not mind it much.probably felt damn good. We should all volunteer for that job with 28C water temp.

We spent the majority of the day not seeing anyone. Just about 30 minutes ago we saw ABN2, Brasil and ABN1. We are pretty sure it is them but they are over 8 miles away so hard to be absolutely sure until the next sked.

The good news is that three boats are behind us and we have decent wind right now. We are slowly making progress up the cost and through the disintegrating cold front. Above 16 S we should start to feel some easterlies, light at first. The forecast is for the wind to lighten tomorrow from the 10 knots we have now and slowly creep left toward the east. The westerly position we have on the group near us should be able to be converted into distance forward as we will have a tighter true wind angle in the light winds tomorrow which generates more speed. Sounds good anyway.

Still very hot out here and hard to sleep. I went for a nap on a sail bag in the forward “hold” and woke up in a pool of sweat. I am thinking about going for a nap on the foredeck tonight. Not possible during day light but might be perfect tonight.

We have seen flying fish, Dorado chasing bait fish and a few dolphins. The water is bright blue.very pretty.

That’s all for now.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Position: 20,13.29S , 39,21.58W

Speed: 13 knots, Course: 20 deg.

I just logged the 1600UTC sked. Like many of you, I noticed that the positions were basically the same as they were 6 hours ago. So, one could imagine that we have been just trundling along here, happy as can be.

Nothing could be further from the truth and I suspect if you log onto Virtual Spectator, and look at what happened between the two skeds, you can see what I am talking about.

Basically we are dodging large clouds which dump rain and play havoc with the wind. These clouds are part of a disintegrating cold front that has been lingering in the area of a week. We will eventually have to penetrate it and get through it.

In the past six hours, ABN 1 and our selves got too close to a cloud and parked and that let ABN2 and Ericsson get about 5 miles ahead of us. Brasil and Movistar also appeared from over the horizon as we sat there making 3 knots.

About 2 hours later, Ericsson and ABN 2 returned the favor by getting too close to a cloud and letting us get to windward of them. Sure enough, we ate up their 5 mile lead and put some on them.

It is like musical chairs out here. We are changing sails, monitoring the radar to track the speed and course of the clouds and then changing our course to try to avoid the largest potholes.

The only common thread is that ABN 1 is the fastest boat almost all the time. We got ahead of her in the park up and as soon as the wind filled in steadily for both of us, she blew by us. It was so impressive we video taped it.

It is hot down below. Sea temp and air temp are 28C. Luckily, there has been breeze for the most part. At some point it is going to go light and that will be painfully hot.


Pirates of the Caribbean