Trade wind sailing

As Ellen and crew decide what to do next

Wednesday February 5th 2003, Author: Kingfisher Challenges, Location: Transoceanic
0700 GMT 5.2.03
Position: 8 38' N 26 49' W (656 nm south-west Dakar, 517nm to Equator)

Ahead/Behind the record: 1 hours 56 minutes behind Orange
Day 6 24 hour run (point to point) : Kingfisher2 532 nm, Orange 373 nm, Geronimo 527 nm

Av/Max boat speed in last hour: 19.9 / 27.0 knots
Av/Max wind speed in last hour: 17.38 / 23.4 knots from 059

Kingfisher is now just 1hour 56minutes behind Orange's record. "We've been smoking along for 24 hours now," a skipper, with a hint of a smile, this morning, as they record a 532 mile day, her second of over 500 miles so far.

The biggest issue facing the crew now is how to navigate the South Atlantic High, which is currently split in to several different elements, and spanning the entire ocean in front of them - an effective barrier between the Equator and the Southern Ocean. "We expect to have to sail more than a 1000 extra miles, we'll be seeing the eyes of the Brazilians I fear," MacArthur admitted this morning its going to be a slow passage south.

A minor technical problem has caused a bit of a hick-up on board as a critical pin on the starboard steering system sheared..."grab the leeward helm" was the shout to Neal McDonald who had been trying to eat lunch in the shade... Four hours later, up and running and no time lost, strengthened system in place, preventative upgrade to the port system shortly.

Ellen writes from onboard:

"Right now, sailing downwind holding due south at about 18-22 knots of breeze. The sea is much flatter than this morning when it was quite rough round Cape Verde Islands. The wind shadow from the islands is quite impressive - yesterday we were just holding west of south but then gybed west of the most western Cape Verde Island. We then sailed fast and were about 70 miles away and still lost the breeze for an hour from the wind shadow effect from the islands. The wind slowly came back again but pretty impressive really."

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