The Open 60 hits top speeds as Malbon and Tourell charge across the Atlantic 16/5/07

Artemis Ocean Racing skipper, Jonny Malbon and his co-skipper Graham Tourell (Gringo) are currently crossing the Atlantic, which will serve as the duo’s qualifier for the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race starting from Le Havre, France, in November. Here’s Jonny’s latest log from Owen Clarke Open 60 design, Artemis Ocean Racing, at a position 49 22.54N 22 33.54W on day 11 of the voyage. They have 801 miles to go with an ETA of Friday 18 May at 1500.

The horrible grey skies that have dominated the last few days are still here? It looked like it was clearing just before dark last night, but got steadily worse until we could not see the bow because of the murk. We are really relying on the instruments at the moment, especially the radar and the active echo.

Still making very good progress, 15-20 knots in the right direction, which is great! We have one reef and the fractional code zero right now. This has been a great combination all night. Fast, easy to get rid of and kind to the autopilot!! The pilot has been a lot better with the furling sails than the spinnakers? so we have work to do with B G (our marine instruments provider) this summer to get everything right. The pilot is such an important part of the boat, it has to be as reliable and accurate as possible, and more importantly we will have to have the confidence in it so that we can leave the deck and have a sleep. We are not quite there yet, but we will be!

The autopilot has the top score from last night – 27.5 knots! It was pretty impressive as the boat had been picked up on a nice wave and the pilot dialled up to get some speed. Then he bore away as the speed rocketed and then just sat at TWA 140 and smoked. I was down below and the noise was incredible. There was water pouring into the cockpit and the boat was just foam. Brilliant!! So the log raced up to 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 27.5 hovered there for a while and then subsided as the pilot looked for his next wave! It has just hit 25 again – keep it up.

We have 801 miles to go to the Needles Fairway Buoy. The routing programme is putting us at the Fairway buoy at 1500 on Friday but we shall see. If we have glamour run then it might be doable to have a beer on Friday night, if not then we may well end up with an early Saturday morning finish. Keep you fingers crossed, Friday would be great!

That is all to report really right now – other than we had two more collisions during the night, not big, but quite solid and both on the rudders. Visual check says everything is fine and the wheel is fine so we shall see. There must be so much debris and detritus floating around out here?

Have a good day,