Banging the corner

It's fingers crossed time for Maiden II in pulling out the stops to catch Club Med's record

Saturday April 20th 2002, Author: Maiden II, Location: Transoceanic
End of Day 9
Distance to finish end Day 9: 715nm
Distance for finish for Club Med end Day 9: 687nm
Miles behind Club Med: 28nm
Average speed to finish: 18.66kts
Average speed since start: 14.68kts
Maiden Two position end Day 9: 25 40N 61 44W
Club Med Position end Day 9: 22 40N 62 20W
Hours since start: 216hrs
Hours to finish: 38.5hrs
Average daily run since start: 352 miles
Current Speed: 21kts
Current wind speed: East 15-20kts
Current heading: 310T

Navigation Report by Adrienne Cahalan

We are in the situation now where we have to 'bang a corner' just like the dinghy days when you get to the bottom mark for the last beat to windward and know that you have to pull out a big one. So we are hitting the NW corner of the course with a predicted SE shift to almost lay in on port gybe.

We have a tough average to beat at 18.6 kts but with this wind speed it is still acheivable. There is a large bank to our south-east associated with a trough predicted to give us the record breaking SE shift and the risk in our strategy is the surprises this cloud bank may bring. Stay tuned!

Days are long - a report from on board by crewman Fraser Brown

Another day in the Atlantic has given us hope and desperation but we are still just on the edge of this downwind record attempt sitting only 28 miles behind Club Med. We are negotiating clouds squalls and rain to try and pick our way through a mine field of light airs of 9 knots and trade winds of 15 with the odd puff of 18.
Dusk and dawn consistantly give us nail biting conditions which is playing a huge role in the overall result for Maiden II. Around dusk we have a big decrease in pressure often reducing down to as much as only 8 knots and sending us up to 40 degrees off course - not good for dead downwind sailing but then dawn beaks giving us a good solid 15 to 18 knots which allows us to get to within 10 degrees of course which is a welcoming sight on the B&G instruments.

Through the night we completed another four gybes where the deck lights come on and luminate the whole boat like a big floating tennis court the standby watch springs into action to take part in their roles to successfully gybe this boat with little down speed and without breaking gear.

The current watch prepare the boat, run the lazy sheet organise the mast area, engage appropriate winches then the standby watch take there place on the front trampoline to furl the big gennaker. To furl this huge sail it requires five people to run up and down inside the continuous furling line until the sail is furled and the boat can be swung through the gybe.

Brian Thompson goes to the head this morning before coming up to join us on deck, however he had a rather extended stay there as somehow the outside latch got closed. He was found by Helena as he was knocking on the door from the inside trying to very politely attract someone's attention. He was released from the head after about five minutes and still trying to find the culprit.

The Aussie contingent on board have a little Koala bear nicknamed Kev. Kev is a little bit of a wild card right now he is taped to the wind speed read out and gets a little good luck scratch every now and then. However yesterday he was close to being drop kicked off the back of the boat.

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