December, 2011

Day 9: Passing the ice gate & heading south

Yesterday afternoon, we finally reached the end of the Ice gate we had been skirting the edge of for the past 600-miles. It was a bit of an anti-climax as we turned around theoretical point in the sea, no marks, no race committee, no rocks, no land, no competitors but, still a mark of the race course. We put up the spinnaker and started heading south and almost instantly the temperatures started to drop and the ‘extreme’ thermals from Artemis Offshore Academy’s technical sponsor, Musto, made their grateful debut last night.

Things are going smoothly on board, other than a couple chafe problems with halyards up the mast, we are happily pushing along in 2nd place. We have lost out a bit to the leaders in the last couple days, but we are now back on the chase to try and make back the miles from the slippery French (sorry Miranda) at the front. Equally under pressure from the advancing kiwis on BSL about 10-miles behind us. A small scare yesterday morning after Conrad rolled on his Ankle, but thankfully that was short lived after a lack of sympathy from me, a few drugs and a rest.

The latest food scandal on board is the disappointing discovery that the deceivingly named Pasta in Bella Italia Cheese sauce should be called Carbonara with no bacon.

We have our advent calenders up on the wall and slowly but surely we are ticking off the days till Christmas, with 5200miles still to go it is likely we will have Christmas at sea and hopefully shortly afterwards.

The Albatrosses are impressing me more now, I have got over my cynical first impressions, a big seagull, and now am starting to admire their size and elegance.

All for now form Sam onboard Cessna Citation

One Week at sea and one week a vegetarian.

We’ve been at see for a week now and its seems a long time ago we were smashing our way south away from south Africa and to wards the roaring forties where we’ve been able to enjoy the high speed eastward surfing.

We have now had 2 days of piece and quiet following our 3 day ‘going through a car wash in a convertible’ sleigh ride. The progress is still good and the intensity high as always with Campagne de France, who we have been insight of for days now, just to the North of us. As the wind goes up and down and we change sails accordingly, the two of us, with two different sail plans, exchange the lead. We had a close call when we crossed with in 50metres of them 2 days ago and at worst we were 4 miles behind last night but are now back alongside again.

With a full day of sunshine yesterday we were able to dry out our selves, the boat and all the sails and are now using the ‘down-time’ to catch up on as much sleep as possible as no doubt, it will be back the the car-wash soon.

My Battle to convert my skipper out of vegetarianism isn’t going well as i fear I am the one being converted. There are a few ‘meaty’ meals on board but I Occasionally get a false hope when it when it is a meal i am used to but… converted. Such as one of my favourites: Kung Po noodles with chicken and vegetables seems to have lost the chicken somewhere along the line, despite being identical in size and shape. Still looking forward to the day that some of my bill-tong turns up in one the day bags from the mystery ‘pick n’ mix’ pile.

My advent calendar!

Its encouraging hearing the updates from the far more experienced BSL that the slamming upwind is equally unenjoyable and its considered a bad day in the office and just something we’ll have to get used to….phew!!.

All for now from Sam aboard Cessna Citation

Day 5 Update:

We have just gybed to head north briefly away from our ice gate limit of 42degrees south. We have to respect this limit for the next 600miles/3days so, for the most part it will be a drag race eastwards between us top 3 boats.

We entered the ‘Roaring Forties’ 3 days ago and since then at has been all that is promised on the brochure. An ultra-fast sleigh ride eastwards. Even if we do look stopped when Banque Populaire comes flying through trying to slow them selves down at 30knots, its fast for us. We’ve had a max speed of 23.7 knots with just the jib up and then we got the small spinnaker up and haven’t stopped averaging below 10knots for a long time now.

Last night we spent in close company with Campagne de France pushing each other hard and making good progress. BSL has fallen back a bit for the moment but, we expect them to be back and the race is very much still on.

Life on board is going well and consists of the the 3 things I most enjoy in life in a continuous 24hour circle…SAIL, EAT, SLEEP, SAIL, EAT, SLEEP…
Something I am not used to is vegetarianism, WE do have some meat on board but, I have taken it upon mylef to try and convince my new skippper, 15 years a vegetarian, that a meal is not complete with about a nice bit of meat. I wouldnt say it has been productive with a significant low point of eating lentil stew(with no meat) voluntarily yesterday, there are 4 weeks yet, who knows what could happen.

Currently surfing in 25knots we expect the wind to start dieing tonight and to have a few days of calmer sialing which, will hopefully give us a bit of time to dry out, tidy, get a few jobs donea nd cath up on some rest.

All for now form Sam aboard Cessna Citation.

Day 3 & it’s Conrad Colman’s birthday!

We are now into the beginning of day 3 and….Its Conrad’s birthday. Happy Birthday!! This came as a bit of a surprise and I had minimal time to get him a Birthday present so, he has got a some books downloaded at last minute onto the iPad such as, Easy Vegetarian Recipes (maybe not that easy on a boat with no ingredients), Dating a Cougar, Robin Crusoe and a few others. What more could you want?


We spent yesterday slamming up wind, a little bit nerve-racking as only 2 weeks ago, I was onboard concise when it broke in the very same conditions. Thankfully this time it was a little less violent and a lot shorter lived. We then had much the opposite last night of no wind which meant being stuck to the helm for all of our 2 hour watch with plenty of time to contemplate the meaning of life and look forward to the following 2 hours in a warm sleeping bag.

In the early hours of this morning we drifted into the expected new wind and now have a spinnaker up and are heading SE as fast as possible to try and keep ahead of the next 2 boats. We gained an early lead on the tracker by choosing a different route now, we just hope we can keep ahead of them as we converge. We should know more by this afternoon. The wind will slowly build and the next 3 days will be fast and probably wet but, at least a little bit less of the slamming and more of the Southern Ocean Surfing we were looking forward to.

Yesterday I also saw my first Albatros, they are impressive in their size and elegance but, having not even seen a picture of one before I couldn’t hide my slight disappointment in them looking like a big seagull.

All for now from Sam aboard Cessna Citation

Day 1 update from the Global Ocean Race…

Just under 24 hours in and we are approaching the most southern point of Africa, Cape Agulhas. We sailed past the infamous Cape Horn in the early hours of this morning, but it was too far away to see.

We had a fantastic start, reaching in 20-knots of wind but, unfortunately this was short lived as after 20mins we sat in area of no wind for a few hours. The fleet split into two and fortunately our option of going offshore with BSL and Campagne de France has paid off and we are currently sitting all with in sight of each other heading southeast towards the edge of our first ice gate, expected in about six days. It was devastating to hear that the Dutch guys on Sec Hayai, who spen the last 3 days repairing their keel, we’re dismasted last night and we hope they can arrange something to get back on the race course.

We have six hours of relatively calm weather with shorts and t-shirt on deck but, by this evening we will have up to 25-knots upwind for about 36 hours.

We have been getting lots of sleep catching up while we can from the frantic few days before leaving. Being a borderline carnivore most of the time, it is going to take a little getting used to my new vegetarian skipper. Thankfully I have manged to smuggle a bit of Biltong onboard so insanity can be held off while that lasts.

All for now from Sam aboard Cessna Citation,

Sam

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