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 Hexagon , Graham Dalton (above) writes:

The last 24 hours have been the toughest so far in the race as I've had to get rid of the 1,000 litres of water that I took on board over the weekend due to waves of over six metres coming over the deck. At least the boat is a lot drier now, allowing me to get some well-earned rest. Consequently, I feel a lot better today.

The breeze has dropped to a pleasant 25-30 knots, meaning that my boat speed is about 11-15 knots. If the wind eases as forecast, I will shake out the two reefs in my mainsail to keep Hexagon up to maximum power.

I was awoken by my Echo Sounder early this morning, warning me that a large container ship was only 600 metres away. I went up on deck to keep a lookout. Unpredictable and changeable weather can pose a threat when sailing and so can large ships, to which I will be insignificant and in bad weather, invisible.

Whilst I am currently having some light rain, it looks like it will break later today. With head winds expected later tonight, I am gearing up for a hard night's work.

My first ever single-handed race was over 18 years ago now, when I travelled from New Plymouth, in New Zealand, to Brisbane, in Australia. Whilst this is only my second race single-handed race, I have learnt so much. The conditions and problems I've encountered and overcome are constantly preparing me for the tougher legs that lie ahead.

During the quiet periods I have spent a little time today on my website www.education.hsbc.com. There is now an exciting new module for children to complete, focusing on Scurvy and my diet while at sea. One of the hardest things about this race is that sailing is an active sport and burns up lots of energy, but as I have very little room to store food I have to choose the food I eat very carefully.

Most of the food I have with me is 'dehydrated' or 'freeze dried' which means I simply add hot water and stir to get an instant hot meal. Usually these meals contain pasta (or rice), some form of meat and some form of vegetables. I also have some cereal, fresh fruit, energy bars, peanut butter and chocolate - that's a real treat!

As I near Torbay, my supplies of chocolate and peanuts are starting to dwindle. I must admit I can't wait to arrive in Brixham and have some good old English fish and chips!

Fair winds
Graham

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