Maiden II makes up for lost time

Tracy's girls are reeling Club Med's record back in, but will it be enough?

Tuesday April 16th 2002, Author: Mark Bullingham, Location: Transoceanic
Maiden II - stats 16 April 2002

Daily run: 439 nautical miles
Position of Maiden Two end Day 5: 24 51N 36 41W
Position of Club Med end Day 5: 29 20N 41 00W

Distance to finish: 2072nm
Average speed to finish required to break record: 15.42 kts
Average speed for Maiden II since start 15.48knots
Miles behind Club Med approx: 240nm (caught up about 90nm on day 5)

COG 260-270T
SOG 20-23kts
TWS 15-20kts
TWD 050-070 NE
TWA 135

Navigation Report by Adrienne Cahalan

Forecast: The wind situation has improved for us overnight as we have kept 15-20kt NE tradewinds slightly headed to enable us to sail a straight course toward the mark at 20 kts keeping slightly south of the rhumbline. Due to a storm in the north Atlantic which is forcing the centre of the Azores High further south to 30N or below we have to make sure that we are not sucked up above 26N into an area of significantly decreased wind speed. If we can maintain 15-20TWS then the conditions are favourable enough to beat the record time. We have 5.5 days left, which will be tight.

We have a better sail wardrobe than Club Med, one sail of which we are a flying right now - a big gennaker and this allows up to sail deeper true wind angles of about 140 degrees without sacrificing boat speed. This will also be critical when the wind moves further east/aft and we have start gybing down the course toward an Salvador Bahamas. The forecasts over the next few days if we can stay around 24-25N is for 15-20kt NE.

The yacht is going well, we have had no major breakages, sail manoeuvres are going smoothly. The crew are all healthy and in good spirits. We have the benefit of a better sail wardrobe developed by the Club Med team after they broke this record. The formula is there. We left on a forecast that was not exceptional but a 'possibility' to break the record. We decided to give it a
go. Yesterday we finally got a bit of a break to allow us to get closer to Club Med's daily position. We always knew that Club Med had a fast first 4-5 days having set the 24hr record of 620nm on day 3-4. So we are fighting hard and over the next few days if the weather holds for us we hope to be level with their position end Day 7 and the race begins from there.


Crew Update by Helena Darvelid

Real words can't quite describe the feeling of sailing this boat at the moment, it is such a great sensation to be flying along doing 25-27k with flat water and a steady warm breeze. We even had a starry night with a new moon, what can I say...we all joke now and just say "perfect" like Guillermo.

Other interesting expressions come out from having the multi national crew - for instance, the Kiwi expression "sending it" is rather effective or "hooning" is another good one meaning going very fast, or simply "beauty" or "glamour".

We have had a fantastic day especially as it sort of started out not looking too flash. Adrienne was up early looking in to gybing and it was not a popular option since we would have to be heading south to get some more wind, after a few gybes and a few negotiations with some squalls
following us wherever we turned we got in to some steady wind and our heading is right on track with excellent boat speed and with happy faces all around.

At the moment we are making more miles then the Starship Enterprise and we can feel it too. I am sleeping in the port hull, leeward hull since we are on starboard tack and it is pretty noisy, so sleeping is difficult it just feels and sounds like you are in a car wash. The movement is not too
bad with the flat water, but boy it is noisy.

We are now well in to the trade winds the water has turned to a beautiful Caribbean blue and we have got the classic little white puffy clouds that normally race past you, but not when you are on this boat! The flying fish have also started to land on deck but the more unfortunate ones try to fly through the netting and end up being instant sushi. We have had some company from a lone Egret flying along behind our main sail catching a ride since he is probably pretty tired. What is he doing here? Trying to break the Egret transat record or something?

Our local football hooligan, Ben Wood, still wearing a woollen rasta-coloured knitted hat, has had a very busy day fixing and swapping pad eyes around for strength. Having to cross the netting a few times like a little Tasmanian devil, he is the only one that does not get thrown around like a rag doll whilst running across the netting. I don't know how he does it. It is a very subtle glide, no movement to the body and only his feet trotting across the netting, "god like" but very efficient. He did a superb job with help from Christine and now we have good eyes in the right places.

Watch changeover is an interesting exercise. Every 4 hours, everybody is up. If you are on standby you have to wake up the next stand by watch and then you go up on deck for your next onslaught. Paul had an interesting wake up call when Sharon woke him up with the words: "Are you one of them?" Paul then could not figure out what that meant so he was lying awake for the next hour thinking "Am I one of those?"

Anyway, here's to the breeze! Helena.

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