Tonight is one of those Nights

Position: 48,14.86S , 135,49.96W

Speed: 20 knots, Course: 88 deg.

This one is going to be hard to write. We are slamming pretty violently on a 100 true wind angle reach, even though we are only going about 20 knots.

I was pleased with the way we sailed the past 48 hours, our positioning mainly, and getting to the ice waypoint first. However, this morning it was another display of the speed of ABN 1 as we left the ice waypoint on a reach with ABN 8 miles astern. She passed, about one half a mile to leeward, us in just three hours, carrying more sail than us. She had up similar foresails to ours but had a full main where we had to have one reef. She just has that much more power from her beam and probably a heavier bulb. For reaching, her beam gives her another advantage which is a wider sheeting angle. Pretty depressing to see our lead, something that took us 48 hours to accumulate, get burned up in 3 hours by a guy just sailing straight past us going 1.5 knots faster.

Anyway, this leg is perfect for them ass it is a tight reach for 500 miles and ABN1 will stretch out to a nice lead.

Movistar is going nicely too, gaining on us slowly. Movistar is the only Farr boat that is slightly different to the other three; Ericsson, Pirates, and Brasil1. I believe that Movistar is a bit beamier than the rest of us, a bit closer to ABN but still far from as powerful. She does have a skeg like the ABN boats which I think is very helpful in these reaching conditions. Just like a 29er or 49er, the chine gives these high speed boats something to dig into the water and lean on. The stern is pushed down by the 1250 liter ballast tank and the dagger boards are up at these speeds. So the chine would be like a skeg on a surf board.

I just came down below from steering the boat for a couple of hours and could not help but think that tonight is one of those nights, that if any normal person wee on the boat, they would think we were all nuts. Picture this; on deck, it is a caustic environment; pitch black, drizzling and blowing 25 knots. The spray is pelting you in the face and chest as you stand exposed at the wheel. You are wheeling this 70 foot boat around, heeling over at up to 28 degrees as you go catapulting down the waves that you can’t see. You are clipped on because the amount of heel is so steep that if you loose you balance, you will fall 15 feet to the rushing water below on the leeward said of the boat. We are traveling along at 20 knots average with the apparent wind angle (the wind you feel on your face) coming from 50 degrees off centerline which pitches the spray and wind in your face about 35 knots.. The helm has a very light feel on the wheel as the front half of the boat is out of the water most of the time. Then you think about where you are, strafing across the bottom of the planet, thousands of miles from anywhere, and even you begin to think that this is crazy.

Down below in these conditions, it isn’t much better than being on deck. When you try to get dressed, it is all you can do to not get thrown down and smash your face into the leeward hull 15 feet below. The noise is and ride would be like being inside a 55 gallon drum and being dragged down as cobble stone road. As for the nav-station, you have to wedge your knees up under the table to hold on while you use your hands to type or run the computer for routing, etc.. really good ab workout. I think riding in the nav station in these is similar to riding a bull. Then you hit a wave and it is a violent smash. Water is hard when you run into it at 20 knots. Everything shakes and vibrates for a few seconds, the lights and computer screens flicker, the keel makes a few loud popping sounds, but we all continue just as though nothing had happened. And then it all happens again.

Since we have al these great cameras all over this boat including in the nav station, I am filming myself typing this report just to document how difficult it is.

Well that is 45 minutes worth, about all I have in me for today.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean