Much Tamer Conditions

Position: 55,51.18S , 112,21.65W

Speed: 20 knots, Course: 94 deg.

Got past 122W trying not to think about all the good things I miss from my home town area in Marin County, CA. The list of most missed things other than family would be; DeAngelo’s, Woodlands Market, and Kentfield Fitness. I miss my runs with my dog on Mt. Tam too. But you know what, all that will be there when I get back and right now I am doing something that I may never be able to do again and most people never get the opportunity to do once. I appreciate the opportunity. I am just happy to be out here and to be a Pirate out here is even better!

Much tamer conditions greeted us this morning.better typing conditions After a day of slamming, banging and ripping, at up to 30 knots, we have settled down to 20 knots of boat speed. Some of us who have done this leg a few times before have been making snide comments about the “tropical cruise” that we have been on (Tahitian Cruise, etc) but, in reality, I don’t know how many days of ripping, slamming and banging these machines could take. They are perfect in 25 knots of wind and long seas like we have had for the past 24 hours. I think the Race Committee may have called this one just right. The forecast looks pretty good to the Corn and getting all of us around that corner will be a nice achievement for this young fleet of super fast boats.

It is hard to have a boat that generates the footage you have undoubtedly seen of the Black Pearl coming out of Melbourne, and have that same vessel sturdy enough to survive 8 days of real Southern Ocean. Maybe we could have but, just the same, it isn’t all bad that we did not have to run the test.

So now it is about focusing on the Horn, less than 1500 miles away, and the points that will be awarded there. It became apparent a while ago that we could not hang with ABN1 in stability conditions and to a lesser extent; the same is true with Movistar. So we have decided to really put extra effort into our study of the weather and the routing and when our analysis says to do something different than the other two, we have been doing it. If we follow them around, in these conditions, we will lose. We will need to be smarter to beat them. This is not typical of the way I sail usually, I am a conservative strategist, but in this case, I think it is the right way to go. Maybe in different conditions, we will have the speed advantage and we can take the conservative strategy.

While we are doing something a bit different to ABN1 and Movistar, we are very aware of Brasil1 and Ericsson and ABN2, and where they are going. So far, the last three are going the same way we want to go, so we get the split from the first two without a risk on the back three. That is as good a situation as a gambler gets.

Right now, our weather analysis says that there is a small disturbance forming just to the south of our track, therefore we are a bit north of ABN1 and Movistar. It appears that there will be less wind to the south in the short term, but that it will be good again in the south in 20 hours time. So we will adjust our course to take both into account and see if we can make a gain over those two boats in the south.

In two days time, the wind will build again to 25-35 as we approach the Horn. This wind will fill from behind.west. So the boats behind will gain on the leaders and there will be compression. Right now it looks like we will get to the Corn at 12:00 GMT on the 2nd of March in 30 knots of wind and I imagine a well formed sea. Very early predictions look like it could get very light and tricky up by the Falklands. 8 years ago a huge high pressure bubble formed there and trapped everyone but us (EF Language) as we were just a few hours ahead and managed to escape and build a 500 mile lead by the finish in Brasil.

Life onboard is still good. Some people manifest fatigue now that we are into the 11th day. People have their ups and downs and the Horn usually has a strong effect. Elation for rounding it and then about 24 hours later a slight depression in realizing that there are over 2000 miles to sail to get to Brasil. I keep pushing everyone to take the Vitamins as we need these minerals when drinking desalinated water for days. It is getting colder.7C degree water temp.when you breath inside the boat, you breath makes the fog that we all know to be a sign of cold temperature. Still, I doubt we will get snow on the deck or see ice on this leg. In some ways that is sad. We have plenty of thick, murky, fog which is typical down here. We have been running the heater onboard for a few hours each day, drying out some inner layers and taking a bit of the condensation out of the boat. The food is the same, that’s just the way it is with freeze dried. I actually think our Real Expedition freeze dried is very good and holding up to the testiness of a crew very well.

That is the news for February 27, 2006.

Captain Paul signing out.

Pirates of the Caribbean