Hot and sticky

The heat and pressure pile onto Ellen and crew

Thursday February 6th 2003, Author: Kingfisher Challenges, Location: Transoceanic
From Kingfisher Challenges
SUMMARY: 0700 GMT 6.2.03
Position: 1 49' N 25 23' W (109 nm to the Equator)

Ahead/Behind the record: 0 hours 29 minutes ahead Orange
Ahead/behind Geronimo : 14 hours behind Geronimo’s pace

Av/Max boat speed in last hour: 13.43 / 19.8 knots
Av/Max wind speed in last hour: 10.2 / 16.45 knots

Kingfisher2 has moved ahead of the record pace set by Orange by 29 minutes, but still 14 hours behind Geronimo's fast pace. Geronimo is nearly half-way round as they approach Cape Leeuwin (off sw tip of Australia) - their pace has been fast and consistent especially in the Southern Ocean sector. Although the official Jules Verne record time is set by Orange, the team are not taking their eyes off the pace of Olivier de Kersauson.

Ellen and Meeno have done an all nighter, poring over the satellite pictures trying to pick a way through the Doldrums, the band of unstable and unpredictable winds (or lack of) near the Equator. "Its like hacking your way through the jungle, you might roughly know where the exit is, but the route through is never very obvious, and certainly hard to predict too much in advance...so far we at least have not completely stopped," commented a tired Ellen this morning. "I've only been on deck for 30 minutes in the last 24 hours...that's quite frustrating...and hot!"

Ellen writes from onboard (1915GMT 5.2.03):

Hi all...

Latest news from Kingfisher 2... well tonight we are approacing the Equator, and the temperature inside as well as my temperature seems to be rising. I feel very stressed today - tense and worried. I know that just a few hundred miles before us is a zone which could really slow us, could - like so many of the traps before us take valuable time from us... The South Atlantic is not looking as favourable as it could for us which is frustrating and worrying, but at the end of the day we just have to keep on trucking and hope that it is not as damaging to our speed as I fear.

As I sit here typing I am hot and sweaty - after another day before the satellite images and weather information. It's been a busy day - and almost impossible to think that I have been on deck for less than an hour. I had a brief chat with Kevin over lunch - as we sat in the cuddy to leeward, and shortly after briefed the guys on the weather situation ahead of us - but that's been it for today - no staring at the ocean, nor helming this magnificent machine. Now the day is drawing to an end and I know that I'll be one tired Ellen tonight... I wish I'd been able to recover further today but strangely, like solo sailing, some days are much harder than others. Today has been a hard one. From computer problems, to lack of sleep - and all in an environment where the air teperature is stifling - and the plastic seat beneath me making me stick to my shorts.

The guys are all of great humour and it's great to spend time with them whenever I can. Hervé was jokingly told off today for being scruffy - after he spilled some chocolote down his t-shirt. His retaliation was to draw a large tie on his t-shirt in red pen, which he very proudly sported during his watch! Nice one Hervé! Both steering systems have now been refurbished, and appear to be working well which is great news and a big thanks on that one must go to Hendo, Youngster, Ronny and Jason who have worked hard on finding a feasible and constructible solution.... There is a growing conversation onboard about the crossing of the Equator ceremony for poor Andrew and Kevin who have not yet crossed. I am not sure what is in store for them yet but I am convined that we shall not let them cross without some kind of event to mark the occasion. Hervé was not so keen on being the master of ceremony, but it's old hat for him - we calculated he had already crossed at least 25 times... So, there you go, news from the mighty Kingfisher2 - who as I type is at 288nm from the equator.

ellen
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