Brian Thompson, watch captain aboard Steve Fossett's round the world yacht Cheyenne reports on the current lighter than predicted Atlantic conditions

Brian Thompson, watch captain aboard Steve Fossett’s round the world yacht Cheyenne reports on the current lighter than predicted Atlantic conditions.

More beautiful sailing out here, wind is lighter than forecast, dipping below 10 knots for much of today. Seas are very flat now and between sail changes the team are catching up with their hygiene, washing themselves and their thermals from the first few days. Washing-up liquid in a bucket seems the right ‘setting’. Wearing the clothes to dry them out is the popular option as well.

In these conditions we are not straining any equipment although we are continuing our maintenance programme. Nick went up the rig and with a new set of eyes he spotted a couple of very minor faults that need attention. Tomorrow Damian will go up and see if he can find anything the others missed – a four-man quality control team with Justin and Dave.

Damian is up on the port topmast shroud changing the attachment for the bungee that takes up the slack in the stay when it is on the leeward side and is unloaded. These boats are flexible and added with the slight stretch in the Kevlar shrouds it allows the mast to fall to leeward so the shrouds on the downwind side flap in the breeze with up to a foot of slack. This could allow the terminals to fatigue over time so the bungee helps to keep the terminals stable. Damian is using a longer batten to spread the load from the attachment point over a longer section of the stay.

We found a slight leak in one of the rudder bearings so we are keeping an eye on this as well. Nick changed a bent bolt in the forward beam bearing, and otherwise all is good. Mark is busy running generators and water makers twice a day.

Great skyscape today, superb visibility with puffy trade wind clouds stretching into infinity in every direction. The water is a bright blue. Wildlife is sparse again – they must be keeping out of the sun like us.

Interesting to hear what Magnus Wheatley had to say in Scuttlebutt about how he is bored with Jules Verne attempts and why it would be more fun for the public for us to race around together. I cannot deny the latter, and next year he and the rest of us will have our wishes granted with the Oryx Cup. I for one am looking forward to that event. However, the Round the World Record exists and is the ultimate challenge against the clock. I for one have always admired the exploits of Peyron, Blake, Knox-Johnston and de Kersauson, and it’s a fascinating challenge to race those skippers and boats around the world, even in phantom form. I want to join the band that have held the record and for me the challenge has not disappeared with the repeating of it. The ocean is still the same and we have to push that bit harder every time we go around.

There will be maxi multihulls going around the world every year now. Plus fully crewed and single-handed races, the Vendee, the Volvo, 5 Oceans, Oryx Cup, Qatar Global Challenge. Personally I follow them all – even when we were at sea on The Race we were tuned in twice a day to every move in the Vendee. You either love it or you don’t, and there is plenty of football to watch if it’s not for you. If there was an annual global race for the maxi multihulls then that would be overkill. At present there will be pure JV attempts every other year and two races, one non-stop, and one with stops every four years.

The boats leaving together on the JV may happen sometimes, as there are so few weather windows in a season, but all the boats are ready at different times, and we have different perceptions of what is and is not an acceptable departure window.

It seems like Orange 2 is getting ready to depart. Fair winds and safe sailing to them. We will look forward to swapping stories about this adventure when we all return.


Report courtesy of