Tension continues in the Atlantic

News from the Route du Rhum + 1500 positions

Monday November 18th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Nick Moloney reports from on board Ashfield Healthcare attempting to get out of the high pressure system:

Everything is going okay. At the moment I have a little bit of wind which is a slight different from yesterday when I spent a majority of the day in nothing, absolutely nothing - sails just flapping from side to side. It was very frustrating and noisy.

You nurse the sails through the strong winds without any damage and then you get to no wind and the sails beat themselves up against the rig and the lazy jacks, just flapping from side to side.

As I speak, right now the breeze is dropping out again. I've just a little burst out of a rain cloud, which I hung with for about 30 minutes. Now that's gone, the sky is clearing and the breeze is dropping so it’s a tad frustrating.

I'm just trying to bounce from one rain cloud to another and stay in some wind.

I'm not sure where the trade winds at the moment. The situation changes every hour. There is a lot of talk about the trade winds and I've just given up on them at the moment. When they get here, they get here and they'll be very well received.

Florys [Luc Coquelin] has been a real headache for me over the last 48 hours. She has been continually faster and sailing better angles.

Yesterday afternoon, just on dusk, I decided to cut my loses and try and get to her latitude. It has been very difficult, she has some wind or is very fast and I'm struggling to get the same body of water as she's in so I can start racing her in the same wind conditions.

It's been quite concerning as with the trade winds coming up the first one in will get a break and if it’s not me there will be lot of work to do, so I've got a bit of race on now.

I get news on Ellen [MacArthur] from Offshore Challenges and it sounds like she is doing an amazing job out in front. This is a really important race for her and Kingfisher and she's had some troubles over the last three days with some breakages and some headaches but it sounds like everything is going well for her now. I hope it stays that way.

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