David Scully, watch leader aboard Steve Fossett's 125ft super-cat Cheyenne, is preparing for a rough ride to the Jules Verne start later today
Like the single guy at a party with the night wearing on. Dates he discarded early in the evening start to look more attractive, and what was not good enough at 8 o’clock starts to look special at 1230. As days get longer in Plymouth, they get shorter in the roaring forties. As daffodils push up outside our hotel, the southern ocean temperature drops, and the storm track pushes north.
Where we once wanted to get to the equator fast, now we just want to get there. The pattern for a Saturday start is not straightforward, but it gets us out of town. After two months of waiting, that may have to be good enough.
The toughest sailing we see on the trip may be on the way to the start. Fifty knots of breeze, dead upwind, is not a course the captain of a meticulously prepared vessel looks forward to, out of the gate. I want to get to the long trade swell, clicking off the kilometers in spray that rises from the bows and blows forward. Against the wind, Cheyenne resembles a suicidal lemming, launching off every precipitous wave crest in her path, and slamming her 25 tonnes into every trough.
Still, we have waited long enough ashore. I feel that we are looking at the far side of the bell curve as far as leaving opportunities come. It will be two weeks before the next one, and if that is a bust, it will be mid-March. We will leave that window for Bruno [Peyron] and possibly for Olivier [de Kersauson], if he is not putting the fresh food aboard as I write.
It will probably be too rough to write for a day or so, so I will send the next news bulletin when we hit the slows in south Biscay. Keep an eye on yachtingworld.com for continuous news updates from onboard Cheyenne.