Position: 53,50.91S , 155,8.83W

Speed: 19 knots, Course: 78 deg.

So far so good. The South is paying us back for our investment. The boats in the North are very light. They must be hoping to pop out of the ridge first and get the new Northwesterly’s in front of the next cold front. Our routing software doesn’t think that is a good idea. ABN1 is taking charge again, blasting through from the south. Not much to do about that except stay close and hope that we find some condition that they are not so fast in.

Movistar is pretty quick as well. She is the only Farr boat with “chines” (hard angles on the side of the boat-ABN has them too) and I believe she is wider than Pirates, Ericsson, and Brasil.all three of the identical design. During these races I always think how nice it must be for the designers to see the “full scale” testing that we run for them.

Sails are a big factor in these boats as they always sail at tight apparent wind angles. Last summer I raced in the Transpac 52 class in Europe and it was amazing to see some of the boats improve their speed under gennaker by magnitudes of knots by getting a better sail onboard. Here in the VOR 70s, the same is true if not more so. I am sure we all have room to improve in our sails. Having said that, I am very happy with our North Sails and the work done so far. We did not had much time to develop sails in this campaign and yet we have a couple that are the best in the fleet.

The forecast is for some fluky winds starting in about 18 hours from now, down to 6 knots maybe, as we pass through the remnants of a tropical depression and wait for the next cold front to sweep through and collect us. This next front could be our ride all the way to the “Corn” (Cayardeese for Cape Horn). We should get to the east end of the western gate around 1700 UTC on the 24th and then only take 24 hours to do the 500 miles to get to the eastern gate. Then from there it is a short 2300 miles to the Corn and we will hook a ride on the front and with these boats, you can just stay with it as it travels at 25-30 knots.

Sounded like we just hit something. The guys are inspecting the foils but we can’t see because it is nighttime. These things always happen at night time. Maybe nothing. There are so many banging sounds on these boats that it is hard to know. Our speed hasn’t changed so I guess it just bounced off, whatever it was. That is good because backing down is a real bummer. We already had to do that two days ago and we will most likely have to do it after Staten Island which is about 100 mile past the Horn. There is a ton of weed there.

Actually this has been a VERY smooth ride so far. We haven’t done a gybe since Sunday afternoon and we haven changed the spinnaker we have up for over 24 hours. Craig Satterthwaite, who was very ill with Tonsillitis, has been recovering well thanks to the smooth conditions.

It has gotten a bit cold down here at 54 South. We all have our gloves and balaclavas on, but we still haven’t put on the bear suits. We are saving those for after the gates when we head south for the Horn…the coldest part of the trip. Erle and I were commenting that this is sure a strange Round the World Race, to be heading up North at this point, but we aren’t complaining. This is the new and improved Volvo Ocean Race, perfect for people over 45.

Here is to being 46 and living like 26.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean