Catching Club Med

Maiden II has gone in search of new breeze. Crew reports from Emma Richards and Greg Hormann

Wednesday April 17th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Distance to Finish: 1666 (we noticed a lot of 66s today)
Distance from start: 2242 miles
Average speed since start: 15.56kts
Average speed needed to break record: 15.10kts
Hours since start: 144
Hours to finish in time: 110.3
Average daily run over 6 days: 373.6nm
Day 6 daily run: 406m @276T
Miles behind Club Med: 60nm (based on longitude only)
Club Med Position end Day 6:27 00N 45 20W
Maiden Two position Day 6: 25 36N 44 08W
SOG: 18kts
COG:250
Wind: E070-090 at 10-12kts

Navigator's Report - Adrienne Cahalan

Its been a good 24hrs for us, making up more time against our imaginary race partner Club Med. At 1112 the official end of day 6 Club Med was at 45 20W and Maiden Two 44 08W, now just 60nm mles behind after a scary 330nm at the end of Day 4.

However, tough times still lie ahead as we take an unfavoured gybe into the south in a race to get to the new wind down at 24S. As the centre of the high pressure system continues to chase us south, we are just trying to stay one step ahead to keep in 15-17knot tradewinds to enable to keep an average of 15.23 towards the mark to break the record.

We have struggled with rain squalls this morning that have slowed us down. It is always difficult to decide whether to gybe away from them or tough it out through them , because although you can see their size on the radar, often the windless areas on the approach or departure from a cloud can be a little
tricky to get exactly right.

Emma Richards reports from on board

The wind has finally dropped and shifted in the last hour, but it is not forecast to last for a long time - or so we are lead to believe by Adrienne following her Meteo conversations with our forecaster Meeno Schrader in Germany

Having just had this perfect sailing for the last couple of days, I will not rub it in how perfect it really was . . . well OK, just one little snapshot from our last watch, 4 more perfect hours of holding an effortless 20knots of boat speed in 14-18knots of wind, on perfect, almost flat, moon lit water, all on our ideal course...why would we sail anything except Maiden II again?

Maybe I'll tell you that the next time we have 45knots on the nose, everything is wet and crashing around and no one has eaten or slept as it is impossible to keep a pot on the stove or yourself in your bunk!

Instead I will tell you a little about the atmosphere amongst this multi-national crew that I joined in La Ciotat, South of France, only a few short weeks ago!

At the moment it is easy to tell the people that have caught up on sleep since our hectic beginning to the trip. More of the standby watches stay on deck as a preference to grabbing any naps they can in the galley, companionway or bubble; hot drinks are offered to the on-watch more often; Kev the Koala is moving around on a more regular basis and has been joined by a frog - a toy green one I mean; and Paul Larsen hasn't stopped to draw breath in three days - no that is a lie - I think there was a silent moment during a green flash at sunset last night!

Basically the good weather has drawn more of the crew on deck and apart from the manoeuvres, there are really only four full-time jobs on the boat - steering, and trimming the gennaker sheet, mainsheet and main traveller. As this boat is steered mainly to an apparent wind the sheets are not constantly moving and so are often just being held ready for any quick changes! Hence the on-deck chat has increased again - there are more people trying their hand at French phrases, some of the French contingent are starting to use some of Ben Woods expressions - is this a good thing?

Christine's lovely French accent disappears momentarily as she pronounces some words including Ben's name more like the Antipodians on board so it comes out more like Bin or Bean.

Ben seemed impressed by Christine's use of a hammer in the padeye-changing exploits of the other day, or maybe we were more impressed as Ben ended up with 'Hammer rash' i.e. blood on the decks, so I am not sure who was acting apprentice! Guillermo Altadill must also have been taking some of these hammer lessons as he proved that a Spinlock clutch was at the end of its working life as it exploded under his swing of the hammer and left a few of us in stitches (of laughter that is)! I don't think it had the desired effect he was hoping for, I hope the powerful swing he took was no reflection on the amount of olive oil we brought on board - yes we have run out much to the Mediterranean's disgust!

Otherwise the food on board has been plentiful, although this will never cease the conversations about whether an ice-cream, strawberries and cream (Fraser), glass of red wine, pint of beer, steak or crunchy apple would be the craving of the moment. This inevitably leads to what we would like to be doing if we weren't having our perfect sailing on board right now - would be trying out kite-surfing, windsurfing, BBQ on the beach, which establishments in Antigua to visit, where to go snowboarding what time of year in which hemisphere or simply to have a game of pool (Adrienne), or where we could do all of the above in the same day! In fact, whatever the chat on deck it always leads back to few subjects . . . . . whatever the nationality!

The wind has now increased to 15knots, so we are sailing downwind again at 18-20knots, even though we are 30 degrees off course, we are on the favoured gybe and this is great news as I am back on watch shortly (with Brian, Sharon, Christine and Greg), so better go!

Happy days,
Emma

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