Maiden in 50 knot winds

Adrienne Cahalan reports from on board the 110ft catamaran bound for Newport

Tuesday May 14th 2002, Author: Adrienne Cahalan, Location: Transoceanic
Day 4

Position at 0500: 38deg 20N 71deg 28W
Distance to finish: 200nm
Miles sailed: 1360nm
Average speed since start: 16.19 knots
Current speed average: 15knots
Current true wind angle: 55 degrees
Current course into Newport: 357T
Weather: 25-35kts from 300T-310T

Navigator's Report - Adrienne Cahalan

It is a combined daily report and navigation report today because we are beating upwind and everyone on the reporting team is either on deck, asleep or too wet to go near the computer.

Last night the barometer plummeted to look like an Austrian ski slope on the graph, dropping 18mb in under 10 hours. A front came through at about 0300 local time just as we were crossing the Gulf Stream. So for a while there we were down to three reefs, no headsail sailing along in 50 knots of wind. As always the sea in the Gulf Stream is rough, and there was a lot of lightening but we only had to cross a 45nm stretch at about 71degW which was not too painful.

The front has now passed and we are now sailing on the wind with reduced speed. Therefore our time for finishing the record has blown out into late afternoon evening. The wind is forecast to stay in the west-northwest for the next hours so that means we may not break the four day barrier which for us is very disappointing. However, given that we only had a 10 day weather window to take a forecast to do the record we can not be too unrealistic about expecting optimum conditions exactly at the time it so happens we feel like leaving Antigua to sail to Newport!

Sailors are also a superstitious lot, and we left port on Friday with women on board hoping to arrive into Newport on Monday the 13th (no bananas or whistling
though) - did this have anything to do with it?

So now we will be based in Newport RI for six weeks while we undertake some short repairs and attempt to break the 24 hour record. To do this we will have to optimise some features on the boat such as lightening her up. We will then wait for the right conditions to go out to sea and line her up with a long stretch of water. The record currently stands at 687nm in one day so we have our work cut out for us - but as they say big crews on big boats attempt big records!

On the crew front - there are a few aches and pains with two of our key drivers toughing it out with shoulder injuries. On a short sprint like this run of 3-4 days most injured don't take downtime but just tough it out and wait until port, so that's what's been happening here.

Little Kev the koala has been keeping a low profile after finding himself in the wheel spokes for the first 48 hrs the result of which he had a massive headache after all the 'spinning round' (he's a real Kylie fan) and left him confused and disorientated. Now that I think about it I last saw him sniffing diesel out of the empty jerry behind the nav station up near the rudderpost. I think also in the tropics he finds the fur pretty hot and irritating.

Adrienne Cahalan

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