Blistering run

Around Alone leaders make hay in front of a depression but headwinds await them en route to Brixham

Tuesday September 24th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
From on board Ocean Planet Bruce Schwab writes:

Monday, Sept. 23, 2002
21:00 GMT

For me it was a long night last night and today, preparing for the worsening of the weather tomorrow. Even if I have the extra complications from a broken boom I know I'm not alone as surely the other skippers are working to get ready too.

Even though the fleet has had some rough stuff so far, it has been mostly off the wind. With the low pressure center having moved south, the counter-clockwise rotation of the wind around the giant low will sweep southeasterly across the remaining amount of Atlantic that lies before us. The two leaders, Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group/Armor Lux and Thierry Dubois on Solidaires will spent much less time in the yuck, they are so far out in front. Their leads are well earned from both impressive speed and good tactics. I think that Thierry made a particularly good recovery from a not so hot position early in the leg, but they are probably beatable.

We have a saying in boat racing that "the rich tend to get richer" and some of the distance they have is from better conditions once they got out in front. From a pure speed viewpoint, Bernard has a really fast boat, it is no mistake that he holds the transatlantic monohull speed record!

Last night I patched the working jib that had gotten torn in the broken boom cleanup process and tried to improve the messy roll up furling job on it. There was no way to unwrap the whole thing inside the boat so I just got it as good as I could and then tied a lot of yarn stops around it to keep it from unrolling as I hoisted it back up. It still was messed up and it took a while and a couple climbs up the staysail stay to yank it around and get it to unroll properly. But it is up there okay now so I can use it upwind over the next few days when the heavy reacher comes down tomorrow (tonight?). One of the projects in England is making a new luff stay for the working jib from a new rope I've been working on with Samson Rope. The luff stay needs to twist less in order to get a better rollup when it's windy.

Too bad about the boom, I'd be very close to the 2nd pack and would likely do really well on the final upwind stretch where we are better than the other 60s, 3rd in the leg would have been a real possibility....will have to wait till the next leg...

I've been on the satphone organizing all the stuff that needs to happen to make the next leg. Things are getting lined up, but need to find about $100,000 to pay for it all. I hope they tip street musicians well in England, I've got my guitar with me...what a challenge it is just making these starts!!

But first, 1,000 miles of Atlantic to go....much of it upwind.

Bruce

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