27 knots to St Kilda

Orange heads for the tiny Hebridean outcrop

Wednesday August 14th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Roger Nilson and Bruno Peyron discuss tactics as Orange is becalmed

At 1400 Orange still had 112nm to get to St Kilda, the tiny group of islands at 8deg 30N, 57deg 50W before they could turn the corner to head for Muckle Flugga at the north end of the Shetland Islands. At 1400 she was at 56deg 02.48N 009deg 39.16W heading at 028deg at 27.3 knots.

Whitbread/Volvo veteran navigator Roger Nilson sent the following from on board:

Our chances to beat the record around GB, felt like it was slipping out of our hands during 12 frustrating hours. Yesterday afternoon we came roaring into the SW corner of Ireland and the big wind machine just turned itself off. This hole was predicted by US computer models and all of us including Clouds (meteorologist Roger Badham), just had a hope they were wrong. But they were not and we crawled ever so slowly up the west coast of Ireland. In 12 hours we covered only 52 nm. Not much for a fast big cat. Painfully we had to look for hours at a big rock, Great Foze Rock, just west of Dingle Bay.

0300 this morning we were let out of prison. A fresh SE/ly came sliding down the misty hills of Ireland. This breeze is generated by a new, agressive LOW, approaching from the West. This morning 0900 we had to accept only 564 nm in 48 hours. That means an average of 11,75 knots. 0,9 knots below the record average.

With a bit of luck we will be back on record time as we now have a steady reading of 23 knots, speed over ground. Clouds is constantly feeding us with information via Sat C and Sat B. On top of that we talk at least 10 times a day on Sat mini m. This is in sharp contrast to Volvo Ocean Race. No outside assistance was allowed when racing but certainly we worked closely with Clouds in each port. My feeling is that Clouds sleeps less then anybody on board, is almost constantly on Internet getting information or skillfully analising all of it. Clouds worked for Club Med during The Race and could sum up 19,8 working hours per day during 62 days. Hopefully he is getting a bit more sleep during this record attempt, but I am not so sure. He is operating from his very special jungle house just south of Sydney. Internet and satelite communication, makes our planet very small.

Tonight we are expecting gale force winds from SSE or South, depending if we are moving faster NE then the LOW is tracking. The faster we move, the less brutal winds can be expected. With this speed we will reach Saint Kilda Islands, west of Scotland, around 1830 LT today. St Kilda has to be left to starboard before we aim for the Northern tip of Shetland Islands.

Yours Roger

Neal McDonald sent this:

It's great to be rocking along at last. We have got just over 20 knots of wind, flat water and we are gliding/hooning along at between 20 and 25 knots. There's more wind to come but at least we are earning back the miles that were stripped from us yesterday. Last night we could see clouds all around us and had to make the difficult decision to sail at 90 degrees to our course to get out to sea to try and find the wind. It didn't come until 3am. We are now on a starboard tack with the small gennaker and the boat is humming. This is easy and fast sailing but in an hour or so we will be out past the northern tip of Ireland that is flattening the sea right now. It could get a bit more grown up then, particularly when the wind builds to the 40 to 45 knots that is forecast. Bring it on. We're starting to enjoy ourselves!

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