Crossed the International Dateline today. That is a big one. Along with the Equator, it is the most significant line on the Map. It means that we are about half way round the planet and 180 more degrees to go to get back the Greenwich or 0 Degrees of Longitude. It also means that we will do February 20th again. Other than that, it doesn’t mean anything to us. The wind did not change when we crossed it so it did not affect us. We don’t change our clocks and most of the crew don’t even know what day it is out here. Our life is that simple.

Today we were in a “see-saw” battle with Ericsson all day within sight of each other all day. That was fun and we each learned a bit I am sure. ABN AMRO ONE continues to impress with her speed. The rest of the fleet goes pretty much the same speed and you can see when someone makes a good move relative to the weather. With ABN AMRO ONE they are just plain fast. They have averaged almost 1 knot faster than the rest of us today sailing in identical conditions. It has been a bit reachy and that is their strong suit as they have a lot of form stability.

The conditions today were pretty pleasant, 17-20 knots at 125 true wind angle going to 145 true wind angle giving us good average boat speeds around 17-18 knots for 6 hour reports. We were actually doing the 125 TWA most of today, which is ideal for ABN AMRO ONE, due to their form stability, but now we have just squared up and put up our big running spinnaker. So maybe we will gain a bit on ABN AMRO ONE now.

The forecast for the next three days is that we are working the south side of a high pressure cell turning into a ridge. This ridge will block our path to the first ice waypoint which is actually a gate. This “block” will probably compress the fleet as the first boats hit the wall first and the other come piling in from behind.

The gates work like this; the east and west bounds of the gate(goal posts) are specific degrees of longitude (the north and south lines on the map).

At some point between the two “goal posts” you have to be above 48 degrees south. So you can sail above the gate for its entire length or you can come up from the south and pop up over 48 S at one point between the goal posts, or you can cross it from north to south. The first gate is between 148W and 140W and again, each yacht must be above 48S at some point between those to “goal posts”.

All is well onboard. Jeremy Smith is settling in nicely to his role as replacement to Curtis and Craig Satterthwaite, who started the leg on Sunday extremely ill with Tonsillitis, is starting to show some signs of life. He has literally been in a bunk since the start. Luckily the sea conditions have been very smooth so far and there hasn’t been much maneuvering.

That is it from the Black Pearl for the first half of February 20th. I’ll try to get Juggy to do the second half.

PC

Pirates of the Caribbean