Written updates sent in from Amory Ross, media man on board current race leader 11th Hour Racing Team and Robert Stanjek, skipper on GUYOT environnement – Team Europe.
I’m sitting here in the cockpit, foulies on for the first time this leg, staring at one of the two cockpit iPads displaying our performance averages. 27 knot average in the last 5 minutes, 27 knot average in the last 30 minutes. If this front we were on could carry us straight east, and if we didn’t need to get south, that’s well in the wheelhouse of outright monohull 24-hour record setting pace. These boats are capable of it for sure. Of course that’s not what we’re here to do, but it feels good to be going fast!!
We hooked into this front at sunrise and have been enjoying the speeds all morning. It’s really bumpy and really chaotic, but it’s flat and ‘relatively’ nice, allowing us these averages in just 22 knots of wind. As the bulk of the front slides across we’ll see a small build in wind strength and it’s the 24-26 knots that, as Si Fi says, “you feel less like a driver and more like a passenger!”
As fun as it would be to stay with this system, our game goes south. We’ve been hedging that way and when the time is right we’ll get off the ride and use what’s left on the backside to propel us down. The more time we spend in the south the fewer miles we sail (grab your globe if that doesn’t make sense ? but there’s not a lot of wind there at the moment, so it’s about connecting the dots and making the most of what we have here before getting down when we still can.
A little of me is bummed to be going south so soon. Some of the routes we’ve run had us passing Tristan da Cunha inside of 40 miles, which on a clear day would be close enough to see the volcanic summit of Queen Mary’s peak, 2,000 meters high. During my first race in 2011 I spent a week there with Puma Ocean Racing while we waited for cargo ship rescue after dismasting on Leg 1. Having never heard of Tristan before starting the 600 mile motor sail under jury rig, I had no comprehension for its uniqueness. While our time there was frustrating – our entire race was suddenly in jeopardy after 17 days – I really only came to appreciate how lucky we were, or how lucky I was, to get a passport stamp from the world’s most remotely inhabited island, after I left.
We hiked to the summit through four different climates, saw snow in the crater, nesting albatross, penguins, met some incredible people, played golf amongst cows, toured the islands’ facilities – most notably a Volvo powered generator and lobster processing plant. Since the finish of that race I have wondered if I’d ever get to see Tristan again. It’s not easy to get to. One ship of supplies every four months and passerby cruisers have to be in the middle of the South Atlantic. Even then, they are only allowed to stay anchored offshore for a few days. Sadly, we won’t be seeing Tristan at all, but that’s just a part of this race! How many incredible places do we see, never to experience. I’m thankful I had that time there and Andy Repetto and the crew that took care of us will always make me wonder what’s going on down here at Tristan.
For now, it’s just a bunch of boating buffoons blasting towards Cape Town at record setting pace! Hopefully a few albatrosses out there, too…
Robert’s Report from GUYOT environnement – Team Europe
We are sailing downwind in good breeze for the past two days. With this inner position rounding the ridge we lost more miles on the other boats than expected. It is very disappointing! We are still fighting hard, gybing on the shifts, waiting desperately for a chance to catch up some miles. But for the moment the leading pack is pushing so fast.
Yesterday we had to take down the A3 for a quick repair on the the deck. We glued a patch with sika over a relatively small cut.
The wind is between 20 a 26 knots most of the time. It’s fast sailing. Waves are getting bigger. We are aiming south east.
GUYOT Environnement – Team Europe