Aiming for a mouse hole

Dodgy weather forecasts are making Orange's Atlantic choices pretty tricky

Monday April 15th 2002, Author: Andy Rice, Location: Transoceanic
Nick Moloney reports from on board Orange

Cape Horn again...am very happy to say that I was as excited as the first time. Definitely not as scenic as the first time for me as she was heavily shrouded in thick mist. We could easily make out the landscape in the increasing light of dawn as we were within a few miles from the rocks. We actually tried to sail deep around it but were forced to gybe quickly in strong winds as it became apparent that we were about to become part of the icon. Total frenzy as we shortened the mainsail to two reefs and made the turn in a rather disturbed seaway.

It's pretty amazing actually...within four hours of making the rounding the clouds lifted and we celebrated with a great lunch, a splash of red wine as we cruised past the scattered snow capped islands with full main and medium gennaker in flat water and 15kts of wind...it was like some one flicked the switch.

We spent yesterday gybing our way to the Falklands and now with it in our wake we are making 32knots of boat speed directly towards Brest.

As usual, progress today may not be as good tomorrow. We have some difficult weather ahead, the biggest headache being a strong depression to the north of us will become a dominant feature in the next few days almost certainly bringing us strong upwind conditions. Keep in mind that this is where Club Med suffered most of her damage during The Race.

Damage is something that we think about all the time. We are on the home stretch in an ocean riddled with debris. Past cases such as Ellen in the Vendee striking objects in the water and severely damaging the boat are scenarios that play on our minds always.

We have changed the watch system to a four watch system in order to attack every available opportunity over the next few weeks.

The temperature is dry and crisp...we are rugged up but the decks are dry and life's pretty comfortable. Unfortunately our first glimpse of warmer weather will probably be associated with the strong northerly winds that we should encounter with the depression.

Every mile is golden right now. We have a reasonable margin on the current record and hope to maintain it. We have had a great Pacific Portion of the
Southern Ocean. We covered the distance of the Sydney-Hobart race in 22hours one day, another we saw an iceberg. We definitely are the lucky ones.

I hope our luck hold for the next 20 or so days.

We have the full length North/south, East/west still to sail but today we feel like we are almost home.

Nick

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