Back in the breeze

Trade Winds fill in as Kingfisher2 passes the Cape Verdes

Tuesday February 4th 2003, Author: Offshore Challenges, Location: Transoceanic
DAY 5 Position 24hr distance Av speed
Kingfisher2 17 27' N 25 54' W 395 16.46
Geronimo 12°39N 28°57W 525 21.88
Orange 14°21N 26°22W 467 19.45

Despite another disappointing 24 hour run the breeze has filled in for Kingfisher2 and we should except to see Ellen's big cat notching up the miles again today. At 0700 this morning the boat was 43 miles off the Cape Verde islands and Offshore Challenges estimated she had dropped back to 11 hours 36 minutes behind Orange.

"We have 20 knots of breeze - it came back yesterday afternoon - and we're now just 40 miles from the Cape Verde Islands," Ellen commented from on board. "Right now, slightly more east then we would like but we are about 1000 miles from the Equator and now the breeze has kicked in, it should stay with us to be able to make a good course straight down to the Equator.

"We're going to pass the Islands and we're going to gybe away or we'll lose the breeze in the shadow area. At the moment we're holding 26 00' W to 27 00' W - I discussed with Meeno [Schrader] the options and we decided the best option would be to gybe to the west earlier rather than later. So everything got set up on deck, the standby watch up came up and then we got a 30 degree wind shift which meant we were heading to the west side of the islands and actually making it past the islands.

"But the issue is that behind the big island (approx 2000m high) you get a wind shadow and that wind shadow can be up to 50 miles. So what we're doing right now is gybing away to the west to pass further away so we don't get stuck.

"Sometimes the wind shadow can be four times the size of the islands - even if you can't see it there can be absolutely no wind. It's not the case every time but all of us have been stuck behind islands and its not much fun."

CREW MEMBER FOCUS: Bruno Dubois (BEL/CAN) - Sailmaker / Trimmer

Bruno Dubois (43) is Manager of North Sails, France. He has worked with Ellen since 1999 developing sails firstly for the monohull Kingfisher and now Kingfisher2. He crewed on board Kingfisher during in her maiden sail from Auckland to Cape Horn, where Bruno and the other crew left Ellen to sail Kingfisher the rest of the way back to the UK solo.

It is a big motivation for Bruno to not only develop the racing sails but then also to see them working: "There are two reasons for me to do the Jules Verne - firstly, I wanted to see our product (North Sails) working - out on the water. I did the same thing with Ellen on the Open 60 Kingfisher sailing back from Cape Horn after the build - you get respect from the sailors and you know better what you are talking about."

Bruno has raced both big and small - he won the the Mini Transat in 1983 and also competed in the 60-foot ORMA multihull circuit in 2001. He knows what it takes to put a succesful team together and believes Kingfisher2 has it: "For me, it is also about the people - to race in big projects is not always easy - but this is different and I know Ellen is the one person who can bring all these people together, to make it happen with a good feeling."

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