Tradewinds have kicked in, but the crew has some catching up to do

It has been a frustrating few days aboard Maiden, Tracy Edwards’s maxi catamaran. First, her mixed crew found themselves in perfect conditions, screaming along and well ahead of Club Med’s record from Cadiz to San Salvador, then they fell into a hole and the margin evaporated.

Overnight last night, the situation improved when the north-easterly tradewinds kicked in, sending the crew back down the rhumb line at 20 knots. However, they are currently 240 miles behind the record time, and to catch up will have to avoid the effects of the Azores High, which has slipped further south than normal.

Although they are hampered by one broken daggerboard, Maiden II does have a better sail wardrobe than Club Med had at the time she attempted this record, built up from knowledge gained later in their programme. Co-skipper Adrienne Cahalan says they have been using one of the extra sails to good effect, a big gennaker which allows them to sail deeper angles of up to 140° TWA. “This will also be critical when the wind moves further east/aft and we have start gybing down the course toward San Salvador,” she comments.

“The yacht is going well, we have had no major breakages, sail maneouvres are going smoothly,” she added. “The crew are all healthy and in good spirits. We left on a forecast that was not exceptional but a possibility to break the record. We decided to give it a go. Yesterday we finally got a bit of a break to allow us to get closer to Club Med’s daily position.

“We always knew that Club Med had a fast first 4-5 days having set the 24hr record of 620nm on day 3-4. So we are fighting hard and over the next few days if the weather holds for us we hope to be level with their position end Day 7, and the race begins from there.”