Maiden II fighting to stay in touch with Club Med

Mikaela Von Koskull reports from the big cat, as the crew tries to hold pace with Club Med's record

Monday April 15th 2002, Author: Mikaela Von Koskull, Location: Transoceanic
Maiden II - stats 15 April 2002

Distance to finish:2495nm
Average speed to finish required to break record: 15.74 knots
Average speed for Maiden II since start 15.7 knots

SOG 15-20 knots
COG 230 degT

Navigator's update from Adrienne Cahalan

"Forecast is for continued squall activity for another 100nm west. This will disrupt tradewinds which hopefully will settle back in on Tuesday at
15-17kts NE. Heading is 230 and our plan is to try and make some more south, as the centre of the Azores High also moves further south to 30N making lighter air from 26N-30N.

Now some 330nm miles behind the position of Club Med at the same time. It was on Day 4 that Club Med set their 24 hour record of 625nm. Club Med
subsequently had a slower pace then into San Salvador, so on our schedule we now have some making up of time to do."

Mikaela Von Koskull brings this update of life on board the big cat...

Well, after a rather harsh awakening to multihull sailing on day one, we have now been nursed into the pleasures of it all, sailing all day with the big "womper" of a gennaker, in perfect tradewind like conditions with the sea turning a deeper shade of blue on each watch.

Being a Sunday today, Sam [Davies] and I felt sorry for our shore crew at the Maiden II Office, thinking we are two lucky chicks to be able to put on the shorts and head up on deck to take the helm of this magnificent maxi cat. We know where we would rather be. Not that that's what we were thinking that on the first night out when we were helming in bad seas with something like a fire hose hitting you painfully in the face every second. It was so bad that in the end I kept my eyes shut - something I have not told the crew yet - for fear of losing my street cred and everyone's faith in my driving.

Having just been in the South Atlantic racing to Brazil in the Jacques Vabre on a 60 ft trimaran I have to admit that the lightness and fast acceleration of the little sister Pindar was still fresh on my mind and felt that I missed it , but after driving this giant at 30+ knots of speed the same thrill is there and I feel at home again.

This is what Sam had to say about it: "I was also racing to Brazil at the end of last year, but in the smallest offshore boat there is - the Mini Transat (21 feet long). It has been a culture shock for me to jump from the smallest boat to one of the biggest and fastest racing machines there is. I am still adjusting to the speed and power that we are harnessing to catapult us over the ocean. I am also getting used to sailing with a big crew again. It is lovely to sail alone, but I am enjoying being part of a great team now. It is nice to have people around to work with, share the fun with, and make the dinner."

Now to the more important daily matters. Kev eventually made his move from the radar post today, having now been warned by several female members of the crew that the radiation was not good for his reproductive health, and is now occupying a much safer (and sociable) position on the starboard morse controls at the steering pedestal. This has many benefits for Kev, one of them being that he manages to get a lot more offerings of snacks etc from the drivers - and seeing as the supplies of eucalyptus are now drying out this is a good thing.

On the same subject of food, we have been keeping an eye out for the start of the flying fish attacks, because you are travelling at 30 knots and so is the fish, so you can imagine that the speed of impact is painfully high. Fortunately there have been no sightings yet. However, we have been a target for the flying squid instead, and Helena and our Corsican chef Stan have been seen collecting the little rubbery missiles and we will not be surprised if one of the future meals is calamari. I guess it will make a nice change from the freeze-dried food. So far I haven't found the tartare sauce though.

Mikaela Von Koskull

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