Bouncing off ice...Paul Cayard, Amer Sports One... Back in the Groove
Another great memory: 0300 local, sunrise, light snow falling, partly cloudy skies, clouds illuminated pink, large iceberg eight miles to leeward glistening ice blue in the light, boat speed 17 knots, direction: The Corn [Cape Horn].
This is what I came here for.
As for the race, last night we pulled the mainsail down. Phil Airey, our onboard sail maker did a great job leading the repair, a task executed by six guys. Roger calculated that we only lost 1.5 miles doing it with the spinnaker ands staysail up all the while. As soon as it was fully hoisted we were back on our bike at 100 percent. You learn to appreciate 100 percent down here. No one hurt, nothing broken and out of use, no one out of the watch system repairing something that then takes me or Roger [Nilson] out of our jobs with the weather and the routing. A 100 percent boat is a fast boat no matter what the design. That is a big part of the game down here. People are cold and people are tired. You need people with recharged batteries. We have to manage our house right now.
Back after a five hour break-
Just pulled off a gybe in 35 true [wind speed]. That is all hands for two hours to get fully squared away on the new board. Kite down, unstack, gybe, new kite up, stack, repack the old kite. Since I had been up for 10 hours previously to that, I went for a little nap.
We have averaged 21.5 knots for the last four hours. Not sure we sustained that pace for four hours last time [1998 on EF Langauge]. The keel makes a loud whistle at 25 knots of boat speed. Two reefs and storm kite is the menu right now.
What an awesome ride this is. I drove for two-hour stints this morning and did more quality sailing in those four hours than I often do in a year. When we were kids at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, we used to sail our Lasers just outside the Golden Gate Bridge on ebb tide summer afternoons. There we could go downwind for hours, practicing our gybes in 25 knots [of wind]. With a 4-knot ebb, you usually never really needed to sail upwind to get another ride going. This is a bigger version of that and it is just as much fun. 3000 miles of 'hauling ass'. Sorry for the language but that is the best way to describe it.
As we surf down the waves we plough into the one in front and two feet of water come down the deck at 25 knots. Everything is tethered forward so it can't be swept into the wheels and break them. Inside it feels like we are hitting something constantly but it is just the bow hitting water at high speed.
Bergers for breakfast, bergers for lunch, bergers for dinner, bergers for midnight snack. This race would be a great advertisement for McDonald’s. I have never seen so many iceberg sightings reported in 30 hours of this race. I don't have the official tally (the race office does for sure) but it seems like 100 would be a lowball number. I am on radar duty right now because Roger is cooking dinner and I have just seen four [icebergs] on our radar since I restarted writing this report. The radar screen is right over my shoulder so I take a look and then keep writing. When I see one I get the range and bearing and yell at the guys on deck.
Roger is sitting next to me, writing a report to the race office to advise the other competitors. He's laughing at me writing this to you saying I am like Hemmingway who wrote while he was at war with bullets flying around his head. He says Hemmingway had a cigar and Whiskey. I am a bit short on that stuff right now but I will make up for that when I get home.
That gets me thinking about all the indulgences that I will feel less guilty about when I get home. I will have to go visit my friends the Kelso's in Napa Valley and try a little grape juice. Then I will go visit my friend Natale at Piazza d'Angelo in Mill Valley. Woodlands market is always my favourite place to go and buy some food in Kentfield. I think I will be ready for a little food. The Jenny Craig diet is reducing my curvy figure that my wife likes so much. Even the Megaflex Gym on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Sounds good.
Well, I better go and stay focused on the radar. Roger is saying to me, 'it would not be good to run into and iceberg while writing about them'. Getting a bit rough outside. 40 knots of wind.
Page three... Mark Rudiger spends quality time with the radar