Flat out with no sails up

Kingfisher 2 averaging 20kts across Biscay in gale force winds

Thursday January 30th 2003, Author: Kingfisher, Location: Transoceanic
In a conversation with crewman Andrew Preece at 1430GMT he reported that - "We have 50 knots of breeze, we have no sails up whatsoever but are still surfing along at 20 knots - it is pretty extreme out here."

The background noise was horrendous as Kingfisher 2 hurtled down the waves at 20 knots - the waves are steep up to 6 metres. Conditions on board for the crew are difficult both on deck and below - needing a hand-hold to move around any part of the boat or risk being thrown around.

Kingfisher 2 is halfway across the Bay of Biscay and is dealing with these conditions due to a cold front that swept the UK south coast earlier today, although it is expected to pass through 5-6 hours from now. Behind the front the conditions will still be very windy but will see a significant decrease in the next 12 hours.

Preece also reported that - "some media equipment on board had been damaged when the emergency escape hatch in the port hull was blown open by the force of the waves." But the 14 crew were expecting these conditions whilst crossing the Bay of Biscay and despite the extreme weather Kingfisher 2 is heading down their desired track averaging over 20 knots.

Kingfisher 2's weather router Meeno Schrader: "We knew we were going to be heading into a first difficult 24 hours but the pressure to leave came from the weather window we need to hook into in 2 days off the coast of Spain. The guys will still have windy conditions tonight and tomorrow morning but will decrease during the day tomorrow."

By this evening they should reach Cape Finistere and warmer climes in the next few days.

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