Behind, but into the Trades

Kingfisher2 takes a more westerly route south

Saturday February 1st 2003, Author: Offshore Challenges, Location: Transoceanic
Day 2 Position 24hr distance Av speed
Kingfisher2 37°49N 19°16W 439 18.29
Geronimo 34°34N 14° 45W 485 20.21
Orange 35°23N 16°13W 472 19.65

Av/Max boat speed in last hour: 14.59 / 23.2 knots
Av/Max wind speed in last hour: 15.6 / 22.5 knots
Wind direction: 051

Following the violent conditions of the first day at sea, Kingfisher2 has not made quite the same blistering start to her round the world record attempt as her competition made. She is now estimated to be seven hours behind Orange's record.

Ellen appears to have chosen a much more westerly path compared to Orange and Geronimo's route, which may allow the big cat to sail at a hotter angle now she is into the more stable conditions of the Trades.

"It has been difficult start for few of the crew since the start - very rough conditions, everyone was tired and pretty daunting prospect for those that have not been round before - starting in 60 knots was hard," commented Ellen from on board. "But in some ways it was a good way to start as everyone is thinking of the safety of themselves and the boat. Now we are further south it is warmer, the boat speed is faster and we are starting to touch the Trade Winds.

"Initially it was physically very hard with wind from the north but we had to take advantage of that and sail the boat as safely as we could. We have made good progress - not as fast as de Kersauson but feels really good to be heading into the Trades.

"The boat is going really well and the sails are in good condition - I am getting better, Benoit is still pretty ill, Bruno is okay but now Hervé is feeling not so great but overall everyone is okay and now feeling warmer!

"It was really sad to see the Prestige where she is - it is very wrong that we had to even think about it and that our first waypoint to avoid was a ship with oil coming out of her but it is even sadder for the people on the coastal areas who have to deal with it every day.

"Today we will be downwind sailing - currently have full mainsail and gennaker - now we are in the Trade Winds heading for the Equator. We're smoking doing 26 knots of boat speed right now.... making good miles south! It was a long night waiting for the wind to go round to 050 before we gybed - the wind went further right than we expected to 063 - didn't happen for most of the night so a bit frustrating. The weather models are a bit inaccurate down here but if the wind goes too far east we can furl the gennaker and power reach so not too much of a worry."

As the winds are forecasted to decrease today to around 15 knots from the NE, Kingfisher2 may opt to power reach directly south to gain more miles - the risk is less wind in that part of the ocean tomorrow. They still need to gain westing where they can for the approach to the Doldrums. On the current routing it looks unlikely that Kingfisher2 can break the Ushant (start) to Equator record set by Geronimo of 6 days, 11 hours, 26 minutes but could better Orange's record of 7 days, 22 hours if the wind stays favourable.

Ellen reported that the communications equipment on board had taken a real hammering in the storm from violent wave impacts on the antennas, for the moment limiting the comms systems to lower speed connections. This will have an impact on the weather information that they can recieve onboard, and also the video content they can send back.

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