Paul Cayard with a round of hot chocolate for the boys and the latest Southern Ocean news from aboard Pirates of the Caribbean

Position 42,30.94S , 46,56.79E

Speed 14 knots, Course: 59 deg

We have been battling with ABN 2 all day. They caught up to us and nearly passed us in 20 knots reaching conditions. They recorded the best runs of the four lead boats on the last two position reports. Their extra form stability was perfect for these conditions. The wind has now lightened considerably and lifted and we are making some small gains back on them. We have been within sight of them all day except that a thick fog came in
for about six hours but we tracked them on our radar.

ABN 1 also made some good gains on the fleet earlier today but then slowed and lost some ground to both us and ABN2 as they got to some lighter winds first.

We spent a lot of time worrying if we had the right sail on today when ABN 2 caught us. We haven’t had enough time yet to be sure of our sail cross-overs. Also we are learning where there is too much overlap in some sails and where we have holes in our inventory. ABN 2 had a very nice specialty sail on today that we got to have a look at. For a long time they were flying it stealth in the fog, but then a clearing came and we got a good look at it.
As this class is new and some of the boats in this race of fairly different design, not all sails work on all boats and not all boats need the same sails that other boats need. So it is a complex problem to understand what is fast, if it is fast on your boat, or is it not the sail but some other attribute that makes a certain boat fast in certain conditions. There is no substitute for time in the boat in order to figure all this out. That was out biggest loss from leg 1, time in the boat, not the points.

We are expecting a front tonight and in fact we are in the warm sector now with a lot of rain falling on us. If the front runs over us we will get lifted and have to gybe to starboard. Our router software doesn’t think we will get run over by the front but looking at the actual situation on deck, it looks like we will. It would have been nice to have hooked onto the front and rode it out of here but on the other hand that plays into ABN’s hands as it would have been more power reaching. Now we are struggling in light stuff which is better for the Farr boats.

Onboard, life is good. I really enjoy these long legs. You get time to get into routines and you really get the sense that you are travelling some where as well as racing, of course. Being in site of another boat for the whole day was great as were are all used to racing side by side other boats in the Olympics or America’s Cup. Seeing your competitor pushes you harder. We are getting our routines down and even having some time for a few jokes. We are eating food like there won’t be any tomorrow. It is getting colder so we are all getting thicker mid layers on. Someone even had their gloves on last night. Balaclavas or rubberized skull caps are popular items as well.

I just made the boys on deck a round of hot chocolate with 1.5 rations each so they are happy. I got one for myself while I am writing to you. I see a big rain squall coming on the radar so I better go. We may need to scramble a bit for this one.

Paul Cayard