Battening down hatches

The Around Alone competitors are putting in a major right hand turn to avoid impending storm

Wednesday October 16th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Class 2 competitor Tim Kent is in philosophical mood:

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

All along, I have said that I did not want to sail across the Bay of Biscay in a storm. Now that I am doing it, I still don't like it. Barometer went down to 990 last night, winds tothe low 40s - less than predicted, thankfully - and I have been under storm jib and triple-reefed main since sunset last night - about 20 hours. Wind is all over the place - in high 20s now, gusting into mid-30s with 12 foot seas. Not very comfortable.

The start yesterday was glorious, nice weather, good sailing. Brad and I sailed into the English Channel literally side by side, trading the lead back and forth, talking about the weather to come. We have all had our eye on the weather, because in two days we are due to get an intense low that will cover our path. We are looking at predictions of barometer readings of 973 and 50+ knots of wind - a severe storm. All of us are trying to get west of the storm so that at least the wind directions will be favorable. In conditions like those, racing stops and boat preservation takes prority.

All of the Class Two guys were talking on the VHF last night, all of us urging each other to be safe. This is a great bunch of guys - and it was good advice, well received.

Believe it or not, I slept through much of last night's storm. We have been working so hard on the boat that I started the race emotionally and physically spent. At the moment the position reports mean nothing to me - I am in the race with the major systems functioning, and that's all that matters. My only regret is that Whitney and Alison could not be with me in England. I miss them terribly - we are going to have to come up with a plan for them to make the remaining stops or the skipper is going to lose it!

I have a genoa sheet jammed around the leeward rudder, and it may be light enough for me to get it loose, so I'm off to do some repairs.

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