Two different tactics

Paul Cayard explains why there is a north-south split in the Volvo fleet approaching Cape Horn

Saturday February 9th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Snow Angels at 60 South - Richard Clarke reports from illbruck

Conditions are moderating as we approach Cape Horn. Sun is out and we are running in 15-20 [knots wind]. Sure seems like a lifetime ago that we were hanging on by a thread, blast reaching in 35-40 [knots wind].
Mind you I probably watched my life and some of my crew mates' [lives] flash before my eyes during some of my driving stints. My driving has dramatically improved since I started sailing these boats last year, but not much prepares you for what we went through. Blasting into the inky darkness at speeds over 30 [knots] not knowing when the next massive puff will hit or where that monster wave lurks is a bit stressful.

But I am blessed with great trimmers that help keep some degree of control over the boat and help with my confidence. I will take many memories away with me from this leg but that feeling of the power of this place and the power of this boat will be the one most cherished.

Yesterday we dipped into 60 south [latitude] and the farthest south we have been so far. Can't even think that I've made it to 60 north, so 60 south seems like a big deal. Weird thing is that it's actually warmer. Winds out of the west and water temp up from 0 to 5 C help a great deal.

Like I said the sun's out and conditions are pretty cruisey. But life is never easy down here, as we are getting assaulted, by the occasional snow squall. They don't pack too much of a punch as we have not seen 30 [knots wind] today but they sure bring a lot of snow. Had an accumulation of a few inches on deck during the last squall and I took the opportunity to do a few snow angels on deck. Probably made quite a sight, big green snow monster flapping its arms and legs on the deck. The boys probably thought we landed some weird Southern Ocean fish.

Big news is that we are heading north and with that all our spirits are lifting and we all have thoughts of peeling off a few of these many layers of clothing and the possibility of seeing some body parts forgotten these past 10 days. I have not seen my arms or legs because I am constantly wrapped in a toasty layer of thermal clothing. Gotta admit that it's not all that toasty and what it lacks in warmth it makes up for in smell!

Well, I am off the wrapper and hoping that in this moderate breeze and the less dampness down below means that it is starting to dry out.

Richard Clarke

Imagine racing through this for days on end...

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