Sunday finish likely

Orange due to hang a right today towards the finish line

Wednesday May 1st 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Nick Moloney reports from on board Orange

I cannot believe its May.

Progress has slowed but we are on a better heading, closer to the finish and are still maintaining around 13-15 knots. We have certainly lost perspective of how fast we have been throughout this tour. I woke up this morning and was quite concerned that our boat speed average has dropped below 20 knots over the past four hours.

We were gliding along a flat sea at about 18. After splashing cold water on my face and wiping the sleep from my eyes, it suddenly occurred to me that most sailors will never sail 18+kts in their lives...I felt guilty for losing my appreciation of simply how fast we are.

It looks as though the weather is setting up nicely for us if we can sustain good speed over the next 48hours. So far has been better than predicted but we are very closely skirting this high pressure system.

For now the mast is quiet. We are all relieved that the sea is calm. We will surely see some fast down wind surfing in the final miles of the tour and concern has reached the boat about opposite loading on the mast joint. We always felt that if she fell it would be after a tack or a gybe. We have been going upwind for a long time and soon we will be in down wind conditions.

If you can imagine bending something back and forth until it fatigues enough to break, well that's sort of what we will be doing in regards to load application to the damaged ball.

I cannot help being confident though. In reflection to the distance we have travelled, I feel like I could swim to the finish from here.

In four to five days we could be back on land. I am expecting it to be a difficult transition. After the Whitbread Round the World Race I deliberately maintained my watch system,waking during the night, walking around the house. I remember one night in particular. I was woken by a storm. I got out of bed, rugged up and went outside. I sat amongst the trees, swaying wildly in the dark with the wind screaming through the branches. I couldn't help thinking that someone is experiencing this on board a boat at sea........Where is my boat? Where is my team? We should be there!

The sun has just risen, a new watch has taken over, its time for a quick bite and a few hours rest.

Nick

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