Orange reaches Cape of Good Hope

The big cat is way ahead of record pace as she exits the Atlantic, but now it's going to get nasty in the Deep South...

Wednesday March 20th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Nick Moloney's diary

"The wind has been steadily increasing throughout the day into the high 20s and 30s. Boatspeed of 30+ is now more frequent on our LED display. The sea
pattern is still a little confused so the ride is slightly unpredictable. We are still carrying one reef in the main, staysail and medium gennaker. The reacher and solent (our next choices on sails as the wind increases) are tied to the cockpit, everything else in now inside the boat and as far aft as possible. The forecast is slightly split. One model says building to 45kts....another 35. It's pretty difficult to get really accurate information in this part of the world, and from here on until Cape Horn its just gets more remote and questionable. Solution is as usual.....hang on to what you've got for as long as you can maintain a reasonable control margin.

"We are under 800 miles to the Cape of Good Hope and are very keen to 'rack up' a few big days to get closer to our original target. We are obviously monitoring the intensity of this deep low as we are trying to outrun its core peak in strength before burning out. We have a collection of sea mountains just
South of the Cape, which jack the waves up and confuses them. Our ETA on this shallow is in the height of this Force 9 so we will certainly have a bit on
our plate in the next few days.

"It's pretty exciting preparing your machine for a blow and your mind for dealing with it all in the pitch black of night. I enjoy watching peoples' attitude change into a more serious mode. In the Whitbread Race we became machine-like. No simple chatter, just compressed, concentrated, minimal discussion about our boat's set-up, small changes to assist control and how to react immediately to a hull fly or nose dive. No doubt tonight should provide a few heart stoppers. But it's all just the beginning. We're in the South now. Sections of this body of water are the most remote places on the planet - sometimes, at best, three days from any real assistance.

"The sea is grey along with the sky. The dim light from the sun behind the clouds is diminishing. We are entering a 'slate grey environment' only to be broken by rolling white crests of waves. Even our bright Orange machine is losing her contrast. It's time for the ocean to show us another mode yet again. There's action on deck so I'd better fly. This is what we signed up for..."


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