illbruck steps out
Paul Cayard at the Keyboard
It is all on down here at 57 degrees south. We have 30-36 knots from 200-180. Boats speeds up to 30 knots, fairly tight angles so there is plenty of water in the face or on deck. Sometimes we sail with a shy kite at 140 twa then we have the two foot deep, ice jacuzzi. When we go with the blast reacher at 110 twa we have the five degree fire hose. Take your pick. In all cases everyone rides on the stack behind the helmsman to keep the bow up [out of the water]. It is a good place to view the scene. To be sadly honest, I love it. It is so bizarre, that you have to love it for the experience. It is really inexplicable. I am trying my best but I cannot do the motions and the sounds justice.
Inside the boat is now a war zone. Everything is slowly but surely getting wet. Last time I slept my mid layer fell into the bilge, so now it is soaked. There is no way to dry it other than to put it on. Cooking is tough. The boat is skipping across the water violently, shuddering and slamming harder than most boats do upwind.
It is getting a bit cold. The guys have the itamahock chop' going on deck, trying to shake the blood into their fingertips. Below you have the steam of your breath visible at all times. We are living in a wet refrigerator.
While our northerly route seemed not so good 30 hours ago, it is coming good for us now. We have not encountered ice like the guys have in the south and even the programs say our position could be good over time. So we are happy with our position and just pushing the boat hard.
It looks like another week to eight days to the Corn.
Got to get the work suit on and get on deck for a little wrestling.
Later when he returns to the keyboard, Cayard continues;
Last night was a great example of the Southern Ocean experience. 36 knots of wind, fog, a bit of ice being reported, the boat skipping like a rock and the spray flying like a fire hose in your face because we were reaching at 130 true wind angle with the fractional kite and full water ballast. To those who have been here before, they know the feeling. The best word to describe it is, violent.
The water temperature is four degrees now, so the rain forest is in effect inside the refrigerator. On deck we are pushing the boat hard. All rocked up with full ballast, the spray comes at you hard and cold. I had to break out the aqua-clava that Kimo [Worthington, who sailed with Paul the last race] lent me. No damage so far. A few leaks though but they are small and only over your bunk, so not a big deal.
We have a good society onboard, everyone getting along great. Everybody is taking their turns at the house keeping duties. Today I went all the way forward through the two forward crash bulkheads to check for water. At 22 knots of boat speed that is one violent place to be. Noisy and a lot of harsh motion. Got in and out of there without doing a face plant...not easy.
I am enjoying sailing with two young champions, Chris Nicholson and Freddie Loof. They get big eyes every once in a while. Like last night when they turned the lights off but kept the wind on...but they are learning quick and you can sense their raw talent. These boats are really just big dinghies, planning all day long.
Also, Roger Nilson and I are getting along great...chatting away about the weather and the routing like to old ladies at lunch after a couple of Martinis. Roger is so good at the research side of the weather. It has been a real pleasure to get to know him. Great to have a doctor sitting right next to you too so you can discuss all your medical concerns.
Going for a bit of a nap now so I can be on night patrol tonight on deck. Forecast for tonight is plenty of action so strap yourself on.
Page four.... Steve Hayles reports 'Ice Everywhere'.