David Scully says the safest place to be aboard Cheyenne right now is at the helm
One and a half degrees to the International Date Line, and we are eating up the miles with an appetite that verges on gluttony. Dodging south to ride a clocking shift, we have been doing between 27-34 knots for the last 20 hours. The safest place to be is at the helm, where you have something to hold on to. Otherwise you teeter from handhold to handhold and the boat surges and bucks like a killer whale on amphetamines. So, the only person who does not have a sense of impending disaster is the driver.
The sound of the hull tearing through the water is like a buzz saw ripping sheet metal. Inside the hull you have to shout to be heard. Dangerous, certainly. Disastrous, probably. Unwise? Yes, but let’s face it, going at 30 odd knots through the Southern Ocean IS in our job descriptions.
As long as we are able to maintain this headlong rush, we run over longitude lines like cross ties on the railroad. The date line is less than a degree of a nm away, and we will probably cross it before I send this letter. I will be a day younger! Always a nice bonus, and will make up in part for the grey hairs this ride is causing. Now two days ahead of OdK’s failed record attempt, and four days ahead of Bruno’s successful one, maybe it is time to pull the head in and get defensive. Or, do you make hay while the sun shines, and pump up the safety margin for the run up the Atlantic. The point is probably moot, because the chances of us making it through the day without a breakdown are slim unless conditions deteriorate, allowing us to throttle down.
Meanwhile, meals are being made and eaten, limericks written, watches changed, power generated, clothing dried in our single, overtaxed drying locker, and people are spending a lot of time just trying to keep their balance. I will say a little prayer for Jerry Roufs, a sailing friend who left this life in these waters a few years ago. The race day, day 30, officially ends in an hour. What will the 24-hour run numbers look like?