Brian Thompson, skipper aboard Doha 2006, sent the following report this morning

While Olivier de Kersauson and his crew on Geronimo head cautiously for Western Australia with a damaged starboard beam, the other three yachts in the Oryx Quest 2005 are sailing at speed on the edge of the Roaring Forties.

Doha 2006 holds a comfortable lead on the fleet, but Cheyenne has closed the gap to less than 200 miles and these are conditions where the biggest of all the catamarans will finally find its stride.

Brian Thompson, skipper aboard Doha 2006 sent the following report this morning:

“What amazing sailing down here, it’s almost hard not to do a 500-mile day, as the winds are just so constant. Right now we are flying along with two reefs and the staysail in 30-40 knots of wind, persistent drizzle interspersed with intervals of rain and fog. The sails are stacked and ready for the 40-50 knot squalls that are forecast for tonight and, touch wood; the boat and crew are in great shape.

“Australia is sweeping by to the north of us, as we passed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin this morning and we are heading to the south of Tasmania and then New Zealand. We have got two days at least of strong north-westerly winds that are going to slingshot us east.

“We have opened up some more distance on Cheyenne and Daedalus, (maybe Cheyenne had some technical problems yesterday), and we should capitalize on the next two days of good wind. Then there are some tricky and light conditions coming up for New Zealand, and that could bring the fleet together again. There is no clear picture yet of what is going to happen there. Could be a lottery. Hopefully a route will open up before we arrive.

“Down below it’s a wet and bumpy place. All the water from the outside of the Musto foul weather gear and from the condensation on the walls and ceiling needs daily mopping, and the motion is constant and in all directions. Jacques is climbing into his top tier bunk now and it takes a Cirque de Soleil manoeuvre to get into the five foot high bunk, that is only one foot from the ceiling, whilst leaving your boots on the ground and your bare feet never touching the floor. He has just managed it once again. This is his 8th time around the world so he has got the moves now.”

Brian –