Hello King Neptune

The big orange one crosses the line in very light conditions

Friday February 7th 2003, Author: Kingfisher Challenges, Location: Transoceanic
From Kingfisher Challenges

Summary: 0700 GMT 7.2.03
Position: 0 27' S 26 06' W

Ahead/Behind the record: 0 hours 9 minutes behind Orange
Ahead/Behind Geronimo: 24 hours 21 minutes behind Geronimo

Av/Max boat speed in last hour: 3.00 / 11.1 knots
Av/Max wind speed in last hour: 3.02 / 10.2 knots
Wind direction: 167
Distance to WP4 35 00'S / 24 00'W St Helena high : 2085 nm (theorectical shortest distance)

Kingfisher2 has finally crossed the eqautor at 0121 and 51 seconds, after a painful and slow final 50 miles in virtually no wind at all. Her time of 7 days, 18 hours, 33 minutes, 2 seconds from the start to the Equator was just ahead of Orange's time set last year by 3 hours, 26 minutes, 58 seconds, but 1 day, 7 hours, 6 minutes and 41 seconds behind Geronimo.

Ellen writes prior crossing the equator:

It's a still night tonight with little other than a gentle swell to help fill our sails. This time the Equator is not so much on our side... The winds light and variable, the temperature - even at midnight - searing. My nav station feels like a sauna, there is little ventilation but still I'm spending over 20 hours a day here - decision making, communicating and, dare I say it for the moment, worrying.

Not only are we lacking wind for the moment but we have a very dfficult decision to make for the South Atlantic situation. There are a possible two doorways which could be open - and there is no guaranteeing either. The most sure option is to follow the coast of Brazil in a northerly breeze before 'hanging a left' and heading over towards Cape Town. This will mean though we are forced to sail a thousand miles further than our rivals... The second option could be to cut through the South Atlantic in general and try to catch a front passing through the southern sector. But it's a long shot - and every hour we spend here with less breeze means we are one step further away from that open door.

It's hard not to appreciate what a fantastic night it is though... I've just popped up to help with a sail change mid-email and earlier this evening spent an hour on deck with the guys. The moon is lying on its back - as it does near the Equator - and though it's just a mere sliver of it's potential we can still see outside clear enough to recognise each of our faces... Earlier this evening we had a pod of dolphins, just feeding a hundred meters or so from the boat. I've never seen dolphins with a water temperarure so warm before...just goes to show that no area of the world is ever predictable, and can always surprise you.

The wind outside is warm, and at night quite pleasant - but the temperature saps energy away, anything physical and you are soaked. We must make the most of it though.. in days rather than weeks the temperature will be falling and, once again, in an incredibly short space of time we shall be dreaming of even a little heat from the sun. It's a trip of extremes - just 7 days ago we were freezing, sailling in a bitter northerly storm. Now we are at the boiling point of the earth...

As I finish my email we are just approaching 8 miles from the Equator... a very different feeling with a group of people. This will be my fourth Equator crossing - but my first with company. It doesn't feel the same...it's different. But it's an awesome feeling to be out here together. Such an awesome bunch of positive people... Ronny just popped his head in through the nav station door to fill in the engine log. His final words on seeing my sweaty furrowed brow staring at the computer screen were 'a donf' - that just about sums up this team.


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