Wind goes soft for Orange

Ed Gorman reports on the slow approach of the Emerald Isle

Tuesday August 13th 2002, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom


Just when we looked to be flying round the southwest corner of the Emerald Isle, the wind dies on us and we spend a tedious three hours wallowing in a left-over swell with Orange's huge mainsail flogging.

I blame Neal McDonald. Every time Neal comes on watch, the breeze goes light or heads us. I even caught him whistling for wind this afternoon in the companionway of the starboard hull where other crew were busy taking advantage of a quiet spell to cook some noodles.

In truth the hole we are in was predicted by Roger 'Clouds' Badham, our Sydney-based router. The big question now is how long are we going to be stuck. Is this a blip or the beginning of the end of this record attempt? The general impression is that if we can push through this, we are still in line for a very fast trip north, up the west coast of Ireland and then onto the Shetlands.

In the meantime our boat speed has climbed from less than one knot to about six. The reef in the main has been shaken out and we are back sailing under the Solent headsail. Weatherwise, it's a murky picture with the Irish coast hidden from us in fog and rain clouds.

Bring on the breeze so we can get back to some bone-shaking mileage.

The Times and madforsailing correspondent Ed Gorman - pensive before the record attempt

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