Update from 1500 GMT

Kingfisher2 cranking as equator in sight

Thursday February 6th 2003, Author: Kingfisher Challenges, Location: Transoceanic
From Kingfisher Challenges
1500 GMT 5.2.03
Position: 5 45' N 27 02' W ()

Av/Max boat speed in last hour: 17.72 / 24 knots
Av/Max wind speed in last hour: 13.91 / 20.4 knots
Wind direction: 051
Distance to Equator: 344 nm (theorectical shortest distance)

Kingfisher2 has just under 350 miles to go to the Equator and is sailing fast (Ellen confirmed 25 knots in latest audio conference at 1500GMT) at 27 degrees west which is where they want to be to cross the Equator. The record time set by Geronimo from Ushant (start) to the Equator is now unattainable but Ellen and the crew are pushing hard to better the times set by Orange and ENZA. Ellen reported that there is not too much concern for the Doldrums on the current weather models but it is the huge high pressure zone across the South Atlantic that is the most worrying. They may be forced to sail further west towards the coast of Brazil to find the stronger breeze. But the gains made in the last 24 hour run (532 nm) and the fast sailing today should ensure Kingfisher2 stays on the pace of the Orange record and slowly closing the gap on Geronimo who has been forced to sail north from 50 degrees south to 45 degrees south due to extreme winds of 45+ knots.

Ellen latest log:

Well here we are powering along at 21 knots. All is well onboard, and we seem to be flying along compared to our last problems with the light wind area. Spirits are up and daily tasks are being carried out with great energy - which is fantastic. Everyone seems very happy - but that's easy to say when we are powering along like this. The sailing is absolutely fantastic - 2 metre swells that we are surfing down, the boat just gliding. Last night I helmed for an hour - an electrifying feeling. Such an enormous machine at your hands, just responding to each little movement of the helm. We seem very small compared to her. That's why we have to be so careful... She is enormous and far more powerful than us. In this attempt it's far more about taming the beast than pushing as hard as you can. There is always a risk of breaking something - all it takes is a gust a little stronger when someone does not ease out the sheet to explode a sail... things can go wrong easily... but then that at the end of the day is the challenge.


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