Brian Thompson, watch captain aboard Cheyenne, managed to write this report last night while blasting along at 34kts. He reckons they could clock up 600 miles today

I’m writing this report at the nav table whilst we are looking at the weather maps for the coming few days. Looks like fast conditions today, maybe 600 miles.

We are blasting along tonight at up to 34kts, racing ahead of a cold front that is approaching us from behind, the faster we can move, and the longer we can stay in the prefrontal conditions of flatter seas and reaching winds at 120 TWA. We are looking at our best days run so far for today. We have two reefs and the staysail up and 25-30 knots of breeze.

This is a big contrast to this time the previous night when the breeze dropped to 0 as a ridge of high pressure passed overhead. Fortunately this was just for a moment that the wind disappeared, although all night the wind was very light. Only a spurt of speed as we got the first wind from the approaching front allowed us to hold on to a 400-mile day.

We have 600 miles to go to the longitude of Cape Leeuwin and we are on track to beat the current record from Ushant to this Cape that is held by Geronimo, set last year. It’s about 7,000 miles to Cape Horn and the end of the Southern Ocean.

The magnetic variation here is huge, we have just passed through a point near the Kergeulens that had 60 degrees of W variation, and by the time we reach Australia it will be back down to 0. We are passing less than 1,000 miles to the north of the South Magnetic Pole and the lines of variation come pouring out from this point, so are changing very fast for our passage. Up on deck we have compass heading displayed and additionally course over Ground True as a reference, and to prove we are really sailing east and not 150 as the compass is telling us.

We saw two penguins and a few seals this morning, all by themselves hundreds of miles from land, doing a little exploring of their own. Not quite so many birds as we are so far from any island bases, we expect to see more birds closer to the islands south of New Zealand.

No icebergs since the first two, at present we are just north of the convergence zone so the risk is low.


Report courtesy of