Groupama nailed

Front passes Telefonica and Camper on the home straight of the Volvo Ocean Race opening leg

Friday November 25th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and PredictWind.

With the leaders now less than two days away from Cape Town and the finish of this opening leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, so, as anticipated, Groupama has been caught between the twin areas of high pressure and as a result from being 344 miles behind Telefonica 24 hours ago has since dropped back to 469 miles behind. Her boat speed is now down to 11 knots compared to race leader Telefonica's 21. Not that this makes any difference in the grand scheme as the Volvo Ocean Race is scored on points not elapsed time and since her ambitious flier in the North Atlantic, Groupama would have been hard pressed to catch the boats ahead of her.

Meanwhile Telefonica and Camper continue to eat up the miles. The front passed over these two last night, with Camper gybing at around 2200 followed by Telefonica at around 0300 this morning. They are now both laying Cape Town on starboard gybe. However both boats are going to have to keep the pedal to the metal if they are to avoid a similar fate to Groupama as the high shifts east over the next 24 hours. In fact it looks as though Telefonica and Camper won't get caught in the high as the forecast indicates it will progress no further east after tomorrow afternoon and as they approach the line the wind is building to 30 knots from the SSE.

Puma is still continuing her long trudge to Tristan da Cunha. Yesterday skipper Ken Read wrote:

Today is Thanksgiving back in the U.S. and you know what I am thankful for? Today has been the most boring day we have had on the boat in a long, long time. No craziness, no ships, no damage; we have plenty of food left, we are in great spirits and we are starting to tick off the lists of boat repairs and general maintenance that we will have to do. Today has been a great day.

On the logistics front, maybe not such a good day. The ship that we were hoping to have heading our way is now coming from Durban [South Africa], which is about 800 miles from Cape Town (first stop to get shore team and tools and equipment) and then another 1500 miles to Tristan da Cunha. Every minute that ship doesn't set sail is making our chances of leaving with the rest of the fleet to Abu Dhabi much slimmer. The clock has been ticking on this mission for days now but the ticking is getting louder. Hopefully, there’s good news to report tomorrow.

We are really starting to look forward to our island visit which should happen (if all goes well) in about 28 hours or so. We have been getting fantastic emails all day from friends telling us fun facts about Tristan. This was started by my daughter, Tory, several days ago and the aura of Tristan island is only growing in our minds.

For example…
· Tristan is known as the most remote inhabited island on earth.
· It is part of England and they use the English Pound as currency.
· Potatoes were used as currency through World War II.
· At this time there are 262 residents.
· There are a total of eight surnames on the island, and one of them is Swain! Jono's long-lost family. Believe me we are going to run with this in a big way. Although Jono was born in South Africa, his family is English so this could be really interesting.
· We have Rome freaked out that they want to start a Kirby clan on the island.
· Wikipedia has already announced our arrival on the island! They have more confidence in us than we do at this stage.
· TV arrived in 2001 and to this day they have one channel – a Falkland Islands British military station.
· Health care is free. Only one doctor, but 5 nurses. Is this the healthcare model that President Obama is trying to push through?
· The island is 6 miles wide.
· In 1961, the island was completely evacuated due to the volcano eruption. Most families returned in 1963.
· They are all Catholic. There is a Bill of Rights.
· The island is primarily known for its crayfish exports and its wildlife. There are 13 known species of breeding seabirds on the island and two species of land birds.
· All land is communal and all families are farmers with a controlled amount of livestock.

To be honest, our entire team can't wait to get there and see this place in person. We have been kidding Amory all day that this is his dream photography job. Forget this sailing stuff, this island could put Amo on the map in the photography world forever.

So, if you are saying Thanksgiving grace prior to that big turkey meal today, please throw in, "And may the ship that is going to Tristan island to pick up Mar Mostro and her crew please do so in quick order!"


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