Mike Sanderson skipper of ABN AMRO One relays his thoughts while doing 32 knots in Southern Ocean 27/2/06

Date and time27 February at 0357

Speed32 knots

Ok… who can lend me their crystal ball? Man this is extreme yachting. As I am bouncing along here the speedo beside me clicks over 32 knots and sits over 30 for over 30 seconds! Once back at a leisurely 27 knots, life seems safe again…

How hard to push? What are the other guys doing? Is going as fast as Movistar was in the last sched good enough to hang on? Wait a minute, we don’t have to beat them in this leg nor the other teams either, we just have to keep this thing in one piece… but there are 3.5 bonus points waiting at Cape Horn for the leader… those points would make our lives a little easier. But what if we push too hard and break? Then we will be feeling silly. Yeah, but the boat is fine we have done this for so many hours before… let’s stay on the pace and keep our noses in front, it’s going to moderate soon…hmmm moderate, will it be forward so we can gain some miles with our extra reaching speed? Or will it be aft and the guys will bring up the better breeze from behind as the low catches us up?

When I saw it was time for my daily report, I couldn’t imagine how I was going to write about life on board, as I just have so much going on in my head, so I thought I would just let you go through all my thoughts with me. Maybe you can help in some way? Anybody keen to swap? Andy Rice’s idea of the weekend off was a good one, but what we are doing here isn’t typical Sunday afternoon leisure. I think this time next year I will probably be on my way back from the Bay of Islands in my launch. Now that is a Sunday afternoon pastime, or maybe just feet up on the couch watching a bit of weekend sport.

In all seriousness though, I wouldn’t miss this for the world. Just hour after hour of unbelievable yachting. For the last five hours we have averaged just a bit under 24 knots so incredibly quick. In the last six hourly report Movistar did a 140 nm run which is impressive as we are running with gennakers up and we normally do the really quick runs with reaching jibs on. We managed just 2.5 miles less. We did have a sail change in there which would account for a loss like that, we don’t know though that they didn’t as well. We can only wait with baited breath for the next one [sked].

We have gone bow up and are pointing closer to the mark, have got a safer sail on and have decided to let the guys behind do the pushing. If I was them now, I would push really hard and try and convince us to match. Even though we would still be leading if we didn’t finish this leg, we would still have plenty on to make the start of the next one and that would for sure make our lives a lot tougher then a mid pack finish now.

So… it has been good to talk to you, it has been good to write all these thoughts down. Once again as darkness rapidly approaches and the risk of breaking something goes up so much as we are unable to steer the boat through the waves. The only sensible approach is a conservative one and let’s just see how it all plays out.

Thanks for your ear

Until tomorrow

Mike Sanderson – skipper