Another blinder of a day
|Day 18 0712||Position||24hr run||Av speed||Rel position*|
|Kingfisher2||38°38S 07°06 E||547||22.79||-180nm|
|Geronimo||41°09S 30°37 E||366||15.25||+916nm|
|Orange||38°31S 10°56 E||530||22.12||
*distance between boats
Boat speed: 19 knots
Kingfisher2's position remains much the same as it was yesterday behind Orange - but still considerably behind Geronimo. At this point in Orange's circumnavigation they were motoring and it probably be 2-3 days before Kingfisher2 can overhauled their record. Although it is early days yet, Kingfisher2 does seem to be maintaining a higher daily average in the Southern Ocean than Geronimo has to date. Will they be able to maintain this without destroying the boat?
...as I sit here typing we are once again racing along in Kingfisher2. I glance up at the speed over ground - and we're at over 30 knots. We've been playing the escapee this morning as we power along ahead of the cold front of the approaching low... The objective has been to sail along fast enough to stay before it - and fast we have been. Our boat speed has been averaging 26 knots for hours. This time, though the wind is our opponent, and the waves our allie. We are luckily hosing down the waves, which though large are less aggressive than those of 48 hours ago...
It's been a busy few days really, with a mix of repairs, weather decisions and numerous manoeuvres on deck. On what was probably the darkest of nights, all our wind instruments failed... First of all a small error which transpired into a complete failure.. It took 12 hours to fix..following each wire to each sensor. I played with settings, replaced the circuit boards - then eventually I discovered the problem existed in the connection system under the mast.
Unfortunately, all the wiring connections are in a tiny compartment inside the main beam. There was a small hole which I was able to climb through - then a space just big enough for me to fit my shoulders in. I went in to do what I throught might have been 20 minutes soldering - but extracted myself from the hole after just 2 hours! The hardest part was getting tiny 4 strand electrical wires into a connection box as we pounded along... Each time a wave came up and hit the underside of the beam, a jet of water squirted up through the drain holes beneath me, and the only way I could communicate with the guys was by radio as it was far too rough to hear anyone's voice.
Kingfisher2 may only be 60 feet wide, but 60 feet is a long way to shout in 40 knots of wind - and when you're hidden in a small hole you have no chance...
The weather looks okay for the next few days - the low beneath us should slow, then allow us to sail lower down towards the SE. It's time to get south now, where it will get colder - but where we will sail a shorter distance. The place where even a damp sleeping bag feels as close to heaven as you could possibly imagine - and the four hours on deck seem like a lifetime - as you try to keep warm. Life is different here in the Southern Ocean, very different. And it's only just beginning...
Current weather - Kingfisher's position is in the middle of the image:
ELLEN PHONECALL 0500GMT:
"Just come down from on deck after steering - its 5.00am and its light here. As we move east the daylight hours are changing. It's amazing to be sailing such a powerful machine, just charging along... We've hardly got any sail up - three reefs in the main and a storm jib - in 40 knots of wind, sailing downwind. Boat just riding down waves incredibly fast. The waves are rather large but not aggressive so we are able to slide down them rather than get hit by them - just an amazing feeling. Feels good to be covering so many miles after covering so few in the early stages...
"Things are good on board - the sea is easier on the boat - we are averaging high speeds but not too violent motion on board. We can sleep more easily, cook, actually operate - before we were reaching in big waves and the motion of the boat was really violent.
"We have a full moon in the Southern Ocean - it's so beautiful it's hard to describe... Sailing along in the middle of the night and it feels like daylight - you can see everyone's faces, see the spray, the waves - all lit up by the lightness from the moon - just fantastic...!"