Conditions moderating for Ellen and crew

Kingfisher 2 has survived 60 knot winds through the Bay of Biscay

Friday January 31st 2003, Author: Kingfisher Challenges, Location: Transoceanic
0719 GMT 31.1.03
Position : 11 21' W 43 58.8' N (passed Cape Finistere in the night now sailing south-west approx 180 miles off Portuguese coast)
Max boat speed : 34 knots
Max wind speed : 41.4 knots
Course: 248
Wind direction: 042

Latest communication with Ellen on board at 0900GMT:

“Its been a full on 24 hours since we started. We saw 60 knots of wind during yesterday, and some wild seas. But to make use of this weather window, we did the right thing to leave, even though sailing in these extreme conditions has not been that great. The wind off of Portugal is definitely going to shut down soon, but hopefully we’ll have pushed past in to the Trade Winds before it does”

"The watch system is working well - when the guys are not on deck they are just crashed out everywhere. If I go on deck to speak to the helmsman I am climbing over bodies still in their oilskins and on deck the spray is just constant - the helmsman is constantly ducking to avoid the worst of it - its pretty cold and and has been really quite violent onboard since the start.”

"But the food is good and everyone is eating properly apart from myself, Bruno and Benoit - we all caught some kind of bug during our very short pitstop in Plymouth. This hasn’t made this wet and cold 24 hours very easy!”

"When we passed Cape Finistere in the night the seas were very confused coming from the NW and the North but the sea conditions are steadying now, wind down to about 30 knots.

"We are about 180 miles offshore from the Portuguese coast west of Sanxenxo (port on the Spanish coast just north of Vigo). Not passed the 'Prestige' yet (sunken oil tanker) - it is about 40 miles south east of us and we will pass it about 50 miles to the west.

"There is no real next way point as such - we will make a final gybe towards the Trades in the south later today hopefully. The breeze will run out soon where we are right now so we are pushing south as fast as we can."

Life on board should improve considerably for the 14 crew by the weekend as Kingfisher 2 aims to hook into the Trade Winds. The watch system on board is a four hours off-watch, four hours on-standby and four hours on-watch with a crew of 4 in each system. Guillermo Altadill, Neal McDonald and Hervé Jan are the 3 watch leaders on board - both Ellen and Andrew Preece are outside of the watch system to allow them to focus on their specific roles on board as navigator and media communications respectively.

The forecast for next 24 hours shows the wind staying in the North East decreasing to 20-25 knots. KINGFISHER2 will gybe later today heading south towards the Trade Winds.

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