It's still windy out there but at least the sails are up

Having spent several hours with the sails down while the worst of the conditions passed through yesterday afternoon, Kingfisher is now speeding along at 30 knots.

Although Ellen MacArthur and team spent the night battling with the rough conditions in the North Atlantic with winds averaging 30 knots. They have now passed Cape Finistere and the winds have abated slightly. Ellen reported from the boat this morning: “Its been a full on 24 hours since we started. We saw 60 knots of wind during yesterday, and some wild seas. But to make use of this weather window, we did the right thing to leave, even though sailing in these extreme conditions has not been that great. The wind off of Portugal is definitely going to shut down soon, but hopefully we’ll have pushed past in to the Trade Winds before it does.

“The watch system is working well – when the guys are not on deck they are just crashed out everywhere. If I go on deck to speak to the helmsman I am climbing over bodies still in their oilskins and on deck the spray is just constant – the helmsman is constantly ducking to avoid the worst of it – its pretty cold and and has been really quite violent onboard since the start.

“But the food is good and everyone is eating properly apart from myself, Bruno and Benoit – we all caught some kind of bug during our very short pitstop in Plymouth. This hasn’t made this wet and cold 24 hours very easy!

“When we passed Cape Finistere in the night the seas were very confused coming from the NW and the North but the sea conditions are steadying now, wind down to about 30 knots.

“We are about 180 miles offshore from the Portuguese coast west of Sanxenxo (port on the Spanish coast just north of Vigo). Not passed the ‘Prestige’ yet (sunken oil tanker) – it is about 40 miles south east of us and we will pass it about 50 miles to the west.

“There is no real next way point as such – we will make a final gybe towards the Trades in the south later today hopefully. The breeze will run out soon where we are right now so we are pushing south as fast as we can.”

The forecast is for the wind to decrease further today as they head south towards the Equator.

SUMMARY : 0719 GMT 31.1.03

Position : 11 21′ W 43 58.8′ N (passed Cape Finistere)

Max boat speed : 34 knots

Max wind speed: 41.4 knots

Course: 248

Wind direction: 42