Paul Cayard on Christmas Eve with the latest Pirate news from Cape Town just two days before the next big VOR points race

It is Christmas Eve and it doesn’t feel like it… at least not for all us Northern Hemisphere people. It is a bright sunny day and the sun came up at 0500 and will set around 2100. But it is really nice down here and Africa is a very cool place to visit. Most of the team have some family down here visiting them which is nice.

We had a few days off earlier this week and got back to it on Thursday with a work day and got out on the water for a full day of short course training yesterday. On Monday we will race the in port race which is a 30-mile course around the buoys. We are looking forward to getting back out there and mixing it up with the other competitors.

The forecast is for fairly strong wind so boat handling will be important in the outcome of the race. Yesterday we spent our time practicing starts and then sailing a triangle-windward/leeward course. The windward legs were three miles long and the reaches 2.2 miles. At the speeds we go, the reaching legs take six minutes… things have to happen fast with regard to sails up and sails down. And with just 11 people onboard, it is a real challenge.

The first in-port race in Sanxenxo was very light wind and therefore reasonably easy on the crew work. This one, if the breeze is up, will be action packed.

Today we are going out for another session at 0900-1200. It is 0730 and the wind is already up around 20 knots from the south-east and forecast to build to 30 by late this afternoon.

Tonight we have a team and family members Christmas dinner in one of the bays just to the south of Cape Town. Santa will visit the young Pirates while the older will be treated to a special South African meal. Tomorrow, Christmas Day, we will not sail, then Monday is the race.

On behalf of the Pirates of the Caribbean, Happy Holidays to all!

Paul Cayard – Pirates of the Caribbean