Global Ocean Race: Beyond toasty

Cessna Citation past Recife

Saturday April 14th 2012, Author: Ollie Dewar, Location: none selected

With the stable breeze continuing, the Global Ocean Race Class40s are all making good progress along the coast of Brazil with Colman and Cavanough on the fleet leader, Cessna Citation, managing to squeeze extra speed from their Akilaria RC 2 as they slide round the easternmost point of Brazil heading for maximum points at the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate.

Trailing the leading Kiwi-Australian team by 212 miles on Saturday afternoon, Nannini and Frattaruolo on Financial Crisis in second and Leggatt and Hutton-Squire in third with Phesheya-Racing are separated by just under 70 miles with Nico Budel and Erik van Vuuren trailing the South African team by 82 miles on Saturday afternoon with Sec. Hayai.

“The drag race towards the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate continued all day today with Phesheya-Racing and Financial Crisis apparently in very similar trade wind conditions and making very similar courses and speeds,” reported Nick Leggatt from the South African Class40 early on Saturday morning as they gained five miles from Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo overnight. “I guess it’s called the trade winds because we seem to trade gains and losses in miles back and forth all day with the net result being a handful of miles in our favour at the end of 24 hours of racing,” reasons Leggatt. With the trio of near-identical first generation Akilaria Class40s spread over 151 miles, gains and losses are currently measured in single figures with Sec.Hayai gaining three miles on Phesheya-Racing in the past 24 hours. “Most of the day saw very easy sailing conditions,” continues Leggatt. “But this evening the shifty, gusty winds of the rain squalls have returned and we have our work cut out trying to maintain a good course and speed.”

Meanwhile, having passed Recife and 27 miles off the coast approaching the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate at the head of the fleet on Saturday afternoon, it’s scorching conditions for Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough: “Now it’s seriously hot,” reported Colman from Cessna Citation. “Not ‘pleasantly warm’ not ‘toasty’ not ‘cosy’,” he explains. “No, we've travelled far and now we've arrived in a world of Dante and are struggling with the associated sulphurous, superheated blasts of air.” Fortunately, since the duo repaired the on board hydrogenerator they no longer have to hand steer continuously: “We’ve set up a shrine to Watt & Sea as its endless trickle of power feeds Knut the pilot and allows the weak sailors to languish in the shade of the cuddy,” says Colman.

In the sweltering heat, deck showers are frequent on the Kiwi-Australian Class40: “We take bucket showers on the aft deck in the afternoons and rinse with a precious litre of fresh water,” continues the 28-year-old Kiwi. “As we also deal with our ablutions in the bucket-and-chuck-it manner, care has to be taken when choosing the implement for one's shower, but as we have two buckets, we've so far avoided incident,” he cautions.

Although 280 miles currently separate Cessna Citation and Phesheya-Racing, there is a disparity in wildlife. On the South African Class40, there’s little to log: “We continue to keep an eye on the nature around us, but today we can report the remarkable fact that we did not see a single bird all day long!” says Nick Leggatt. “What a change from the flocks of birds in the Southern Ocean! The tropics are almost like a desert compared to the south and the only living things we have seen today have been flying fishes and one large, lonely Portuguese Man'o'war!” Conversely, on Cessna Citation, it’s been busier, noisier and slightly more dangerous: “Last night we had a pod of dolphins join us for a while,” reports Scott Cavanough. “Sounded like they were trying to talk to the water generator that was humming and whining away,” he notes.

However, it’s the flying fish that currently pose a threat on Cessna Citation: “Many take it upon themselves to fly towards, rather than away, from the 40-foot intruder,” explains Colman. “When I was at the helm recently I saw a dark shadow approach in the moonlight and ducked, only to have a fish strike the backstay block just behind my head at full speed,” he recalls. “Scotty wasn't so lucky and took a direct hit to his arm and the impact left a round bruise that looks suspiciously like a hickey,” says Colman. “Perhaps he's getting lonely on his moonlit watches! Whatever the case, he has fish pie from Backcountry Cuisine today, so he at least gets a karmic comeback.”

GOR leaderboard at 15:00 GMT 14/4/12:
1. Cessna Citation DTF 3495 9.8kts
2. Financial Crisis DTL 212 7.7kts
3. Phesheya-Racing DTL 281 8.7kts
4. Sec. Hayai DTL 363 8.7kts

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