Moloney on board

Nick Moloney reports back from his first solo experience on board his Open 50
16/08/02 : Position 49:24N ; 08:28W I am currently approaching the English Channel, just over 100 miles from my final waypoint before the finish of my 1000 mile solo qualifier in Cowes which is about 250 miles away. Day break has arrived with a bright red easterly horizon. Currently cruising along at 4 knots of boat speed in around the same amount of wind. I have been cramming rest throughout the night as there is forecast deep depression arriving this evening bringing strong winds, up to 40 knots mid Irish Sea all the time trying to maintain maximum speed to the south in order to escape the brunt of this storm. Apart from the ol 'red sky in the morning..sailors warning!' there is evidence of the power over our westerly horizon. The wind began to drop yesterday afternoon but all the time, a large swell continued to roll us around playing havoc with our sails. By the evening I was really surprised by the size and mass. I e-mailed some surf heads on the Isle of Wight telling them to dig out their boards. This trip has been a bit of a toughie. this has been my first solo experience since 1999 in the Mini Transat. For those in the know you will recall that that was my hardest mental and physical experience ever encountered by myself at sea. I departed last Sunday from the Isle of Wight in reasonably strong headwinds and my boat OC1 was a real hand full. I was surprised by her characteristics - like many of this generation of Finot Open boats, they'd rather be going downwind than upwind... This was to be the beginning of a tough 500 mile beat towards a waypoint Atlantic. This was a period of deep concern for me. Not making much headway, continual