It is that time of the year again. Time to wish everyone all the best for 2006.

For the Pirates, we are eagerly looking forward to getting out on the ocean and doing what we are here to do. The stay in Cape Town has been great, a lot of us have had our families here as they had vacation from school. But now it is time to get on with the racing and we feel that we and the Pearl are ready to fight is out with the other teams.

The forecast right now for January 2nd has us going on the wind for the first 48 hours in 25-30 knots of wind. This will make for a rough departure. Then we will probably cross a high pressure ridge working our way more south to hit the “highway”, the strong westerlies that lie south of 40 South, and be off and running with someone in the fleet possibly breaking the 24 hours record.

The boat is loaded and sitting at her berth in the Marina at the Volvo Ocean Race Village. We went for a short sail this morning as a final check or dress rehearsal. These are always good to do as inevitably you find something that your forgot to do or that did not get set up correctly. All is done now and we are taking off for New Years Eve (will be a mild one) and New Years Day which will the crew will have off. I want to climb to the top of Table mountain with my family tomorrow. The shore team will come in on New Years Day at 11:00 to tear down the base.

We will be onboard the Pearl at 1000 on Monday for a 1030 departure ceremony and 1300 start. The start is pretty simple here, just one buoy about 2 miles southwest of the starting line to keep the fleet close to shore and then we are off. The Race committee has set a couple of “Ice Waypoints” GPS positions that we have to

keep to the north of as big ice bergs have been spotted by satellite around 46S.

My next report will be from the navigation station.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean