Although ahead of the record, the low pressure system between Foncia and the Lizard may prove a phantom reports Cam Lewis from on board
–SPORTS FANS — THIS IS CAM-GRAM #5 FROM FONCIA–
Foncia (ex-Primagaz) calling Planet Earth
July 4/1100 UTC (0700 EDT)
Position: 49 41 N 17 29 W
We have 475 miles remaining to the barn. The wind is blowing from 315 degrees
at 33 kts. Boatspeed is 20 to 24 knots. We are directly on course, on the
road to the Lizard, at 083 degrees True.
I feel like the secretary bird in the Lion King. Lots to report about life in
the jungle, and on the liquid plains and mountains of the Atlantic. What’s
that funny bird’s name anyway? Its not Pumba or Timor. My sons Max and
Beauzer probably know.
Lions in the jungle, rain squalls to port, big waves over bow. Two reefs in
mainsail and one broken batten. We have the solent working jib flying up
front. The leech tape is curving off to leeward in the middle, indicating a
possible problem. Our $20,000 gennaker exploded during the night, as we
pushed hard, and is ready for the trash can. Actually, its in a trash can in
the bow. And we have a hole to patch in the other gennaker that we need for
the light air work ahead of us. To cap it all, the bow hatch blew off on our
overnight porpoise ride.
Laurent Bourgnon is sleeping, Yvan Bourgnon driving, Jean Troillet filming,
Xavier Dagault eating, Laurent Bignolas trying to sleep. This guy is the
Peter Jennings/Tom Brokaw of French TV news. Famous TV journalist goes for a
wild ride. I’m at the keyboard, being secretary bird, nose diving at 25.7
Want some fun? A real trick on this ride. To simulate this transat
experience, go to your local zoo or or pet shop. Rent, buy or lease a
kangaroo. Ride to laundromat on back of Kanga, go thru a couple of car washes
to lose zoo smell. Enter big washing machine with big glass window so your
friends can watch the fun. Put in lots of coins, ride Kanga in machine for 10
minutes then let Kanga go back to Zoo or the outback. Put in small toy boats.
Put in more coins and watch thru big round window until sea sick. Go Home.
Read “Moby Dick”, “The Perfect Storm”, Buy house in Arizona. That’s it.
Voila! Life is simple.
Seriously, we have a huge problem. We need to break this record. There is a
grand and elusive obstacle lurking just ahead. A low pressure area that has
no determined path is moving between us and the Lizard finish line. The boat
could disintegrate at any moment going this speed. We could hit a whale, be
attacked by Martians, prove that the world is flat. Anything can happen. But
we can’t control the blahh beep beep weather forecast and the weather guys
don’t know either.
We are racing a phantom system. Ahead of us, the wind is light and southwest
and the parking lot is being paved. Four hours from now we will be 100 miles
closer and will hopefully have an idea how to pass by this transition area.
We could finish our voyage going uphill in very light wind.
We press on and I go horizontal sleep mode. Question. What year was the
battle of Hastings, 1066 or 1266? And how did it change the world as we know
it and who won the war? Next question who else has beaten the all-out
Transatlantic record since the schooner Atlantic run masterminded by Capt
Charlie Barr, and what were their times, and which of them was not French?
Happy Fourth of July. Remember fireworks are supposed to be dangerous and for
all you pyros, be real careful with those old expired flares!