Fluctuating positions

The Doldrums and the light airs around the Canaries turn the racing in Around Alone into a lottery

Tuesday October 29th 2002, Author: James Boyd/Mary Amblr, Location: Transoceanic
There is much to report this afternoon as the twelve yachts in the Around Alone make their way south. In Class 1 British sailor Emma Richards on Pindar has overtaken Thierry Dubois on Solidaires to recover second place. She is now 17 miles ahead of the French skipper.

It hasn’t been easy as Emma reported in her latest email: “Every single mile is hard work. The wind is all over the place when there is any, and each time you think there is a clear patch so you can nap for half an hour, you never get to sleep before something wakes you first and you have to trim sails or tack the boat.” Whatever Emma is doing is paying dividends and she must be happy with her performance.

Leader Bernard Stamm reported in from Bobst Group-Armor Lux that he has ‘touch wood’ found a way out of the Doldrums, and is currently sailing upwind at 10 knots again. “Statistically, the Doldrums are the most narrow at around 26 degrees West. The more to the West you position yourself, the better chance you have to pass through without any real problems, however you are then not so well placed to catch the Southern Trades. So it’s all about finding a happy compromise.”

Coming up from the rear at pace is Graham Dalton on Hexagon, who has covered the most mileage in 24hrs: “I've turned south again, and for the last eight hours, I've been making good progress at about 13 to 16 knots. At this rate, I hope to quickly swallow up the miles between Hexagon and the leaders. The new breeze out of the Doldrums will come out of the west, and I'll be there ready to take it; I have a good angle to the wind and this will help me. Though the winds will inevitably lighten up, I probably have at least another good twelve hours.”

Of all the competitors, Dalton is likely to have the best information about the Doldrums. He has been working with veteran round the world navigator Mike Quilter and prior to the start in Brixham, Marcel van Triest, who navigated SEB in the Volvo Ocean Race was in town to offer his advice.

In Class 2 Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada has once again overtaken Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal to move into second place. The two skippers have been see-sawing back and forth with Spirit of Canada currently ahead. The fluctuating wind is the cause of the position changes as Tim Kent discussed in his email. “I am completely bored - no wind, at least a dozen tacks and gybes in the last four hours - all for at least 100 yards of progress. I'm now measuring success in the same increments that they use in Monday Night Football.”

While Derek and Tim trade places, Class 2 leader Brad van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is sailing through the Canary Islands. The wind is very light and although it was not Brad’s intentions to sail through the island group, the light winds have given him no option. Instead of fretting about his predicament, Brad is instead making the most of it and enjoying the view.

Van Liew also took the time to send a great image and email: “As I write this dispatch I sit within the wind shadow of Tenerife in the Canaries Islands. The islands look spectacular and I just had a four-masted square-rigger motor out of the haze and I felt like I had gone through a time machine. I sat on deck staring at the spectacular sailing vessel as it went by imaging the boom time for these ships when the responsibility of the world’s burgeoning trade industry rested squarely on their massive frames. A truly awesome sight in a truly spectacular setting!”

Today’s personal story comes from Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi: “Lately I have been hearing of the class one flying fish and recipe stories. But HAHA!! What is a 60-foot boat compared to Spirit of yukoh a 40-foot boat with a kitchen and various seasonings and a ready and waiting recipe book with the tools and food to cook flying fish eh!!! It has to be the biggest kitchen in the whole history of the Around Alone! (Not that I'm bragging or anything!). It's three times the size of my chart table. A long time ago when Yukoh Tada was my mentor we went out in a wild winter storm. The waves were huge and I was feeling horribly seasick but when I wanted to swap shifts with the steering I poked my head inside the cabin and I saw a most peculiar sight!!! My mentor in a terrible sea with crashing waves was making DUMPLINGS! And from that day I looked up at him for being a really TOUGH man! I don't think I could ever be that tough!”

We have heard recently that eating ginger in any form - root ginger, ginger beer, Ginger Nuts - is a good cure for seasickness. Has anyone tried this? Email - feedback@thedailysail.com

Positions at 1400GMT 29th October 2002
Class 1
Boat Time Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1. Bobst Group Armor-Lux 2 31.603 N 24 09.889 W 8.09 kt 198 °T 4145.38 nm
2. Pindar 5 04.400 N 22 12.240 W 4.94 kt 182 °T 4310.48 nm
3. Solidaires 5 08.160 N 20 47.320 W 2.61 kt 126 °T 4327.51 nm
4. Hexagon 7 22.760 N 26 09.480 W 10.79 kt 179 °T 4429.71 nm
5. Ocean Planet 29 50.040 N 13 00.720 W 6.28 kt 228 °T 5972.03 nm
6. Tiscali 43 27.320 N 8 21.000 W 0.00 kt 0 °T 6799.83 nm

Class 2
Boat Time Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1. Tommy Hilfiger 28 31.880 N 16 04.560 W 7.54 kt 181 °T 5831.25 nm
2. Spirit of Canada 30 31.680 N 13 51.400 W 4.88 kt 211 °T 5988.90 nm
3. Everest Horizontal 30 15.229 N 12 55.329 W 3.76 kt 233 °T 5996.43 nm
4. BTC Velocity 30 53.425 N 14 06.519 W 6.39 kt 221 °T 6002.73 nm
5. Spirit of yukoh 31 52.280 N 15 55.000 W 2.02 kt 188 °T 6019.03 nm
6. Bayer Ascensia 32 37.800 N 14 21.160 W 3.77 kt 182 °T 6092.09 nm

See our interview with Emma Richards

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