Displaying items by tag: Transatlantic
With 1,548 nautical miles left to sail to the finish of the Transatlantic record (as of 08:30 GMT today) at Lizard Point, UK, Comanche remains on course to break Mari Cha IV’s 2003 record.
Stan Honey, Comanche navigator, noted this morning: Chilly here. Set the A-3 Gennaker to go deeper. Very flat water. Smooth sailing. Not much wind down low near the cold water. Visibility 10 meters. Keeping careful radar watch.
Boat Captain, Casey Smith also sent an update from onboard this morning: “Everyone on board is doing great. Tony, Richard and Dirk are all over the sail selections and we are managing to keep the boat going fast with fresh drivers. We are doing four on, four off watches and everyone is getting good rest. The boat is in great shape with no issues to report. Looks like we have a period of lighter air to navigate over the next 24 to 36 hours, which should give us a good chance to have a full check over. Water ingress is very low. The new bow drains are doing the trick with only a couple of buckets pulled out of up front in the first 36 hours.
The Offshore Dodger will never come off again if the crew has their way - such a game changer. Hatches open the whole time and the pit area of the boat so much safer during high-speed maneuvers. We hit one log with the keel and snapped it in two but it missed the rudders thank goodness. Now we just need to miss the ice and we should be in great shape.
Everyone is great. Life is good. Go the Comanche.”
Meanwhile, watching the record run from the TV compound at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, Comanche’s skipper Ken Read believes the next 24 hours are crucial for two reasons: “Firstly, Comanche is crossing a bit of ridge and this will bring some of the lightest air they will see on this whole trip. And if you aren't careful you can get quite bogged down in it and miss the window. When you do these record attempts you sort of ‘hop on the train’ and hope that the train takes you all the way to the next station. They need to get through this next light air zone to get back on the train again and rip it across the ocean.
“Secondly, they are right in the possible projected ice zone literally with zero visability – I don’t need to tell anyone that carbon fibre and ice do not like each other and it doesn’t go well if they meet. The guys are very aware; it’s cold and very foggy. They have a great radar system on board the boat, which they are quite confident in. I have talked to them a lot and in fact, I think they are pretty sick of me by now but I now know how hard it is to watch these things from dry land, especially when you see the fantastic pictures of glamour sailing.”
Comanche’s owners, Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark, are naturally following the record run extremely carefully. As Ken Read concludes: “It’s funny, Jim and I have both also become armchair navigators during our many text message banters, discussing whether the best navigator in the world [Stan] is actually doing the right thing. But I think at the end of the day he and I are going to give way to Mr Honey. Not only that, Ken Campbell and Commanders weather are supporting Stan to help make sure he is making all the right decisions. Stan has a programme set up from the boat whereby on the half hour it pings all the key information off the boat e.g. latitude, longitude, boat speed, wind speed and wind direction, to several of us including Ken Campbell so he is monitoring it very carefully and making sure that a tired Stan Honey is still paying attention. This is a different sort of situation for all of us (other than maybe Stan) as in a race you can’t have any outside assistance but here you can have people making sure that all of the sudden a tired mind doesn’t miss anything. Ken has been awesome up to now, watching over things and offering suggestions to help support Stan out there. And also looking at some high altitude weather that could affect things - so the combination means Comanche has the best chance, so let’s see what the next little phase brings.”
To follow the progress of Comanche, please visit here
British sailor Richard Tolkien (61), one of the competitors in the race from Plymouth to New York, abandoned his yacht '44' and boarded the Cargo Ship ANTON TOPIC on Friday. Tolkein, who sustained head injuries in the abandonment, say it is his intention to recover the boat that is currently believed to be in a location nearly nine hundred miles north west of the Azores.
“I had to leave the boat which has a tracker on it – not an easy situation - and I hope to rescue the boat he said after the ordeal.
Locating the boat will not be easy according to Kinsale based Marcus Hutchinson who co-ordinated and recovered another abandoned IMOCA yacht last January. Hutchinson and a team set out from West Cork and rescued the SMA sponsored IMOCA Yacht last January.
Hutchinson told Afloat.ie he wasn't sure if the boat would make it into Irish waters: 'it is a lot further south and west and the weather is a bit different at this time of year so would take a lot longer. Also, I think the tracker, which is yellow brick, won't last for more than a couple of weeks', he said.
The movement of the yacht depends on the rig set up and what sails are still flying. It is unlikely to reach Ireland on the basis of current alone as it’s too far south and as it moves east there is a southerly element to the ocean current so it will probably end up moving south on the Canary current.
However, like SMA, the sail set up could promote sailing and more than counteract current if there is a south westerly and if it is more wind influenced it could “sail” in a north easterly direction – if it did this at 5 knots, it would be 300 hours or around two weeks before it got to the Irish coast.
An 60–foot round the world French racing yacht is berthed in Crookhaven Bay in County Cork this morning having been abandoned mid–Atlantic three weeks ago and brought to the Irish harbour by a recovery team that included Kinsale's Marcus Hutchinson.
Since Paul Meilhat was airlifted off SMA on 15th December, during the transatlantic Race in which Ireland's Enda O'Coineen finished third, the 60-footer has drifted up from the Azores to Ireland over the past twenty days, during which the SMA team has attempted several recovery operations, in spite of some horrendous weather.
On 5th January, the boat was finally recovered 100 miles off the coast of Ireland. SMA is now safe in Crookhaven Bay in SW Ireland. On board, the boat captain, Marc Liardet and his team are trying to sort the boat out. Their goal is to get her back to France and to Port La Forêt as soon as the weather allows.
In early January, two operations were set up at the same time with Mer Agitee, the owner of the monohull and the boat's insurers, Pantaenius. On 4th January, on a boat was chartered by the insurance company with the ocean racer, Adrien Hardy on board. He managed to get aboard SMA, in some very rough conditions in 40 knots of wind and 20-foot high waves, while the Mer Agitee shorte team joined in aboard an Irish tug.
As the Mer Agitee predicted, after following the progress of SMA thanks to her Argos beacon, following on from the operation to rescue Paul Meilhat, the mast was still in place.
The recovery team in Ireland:
Marcus Hutchinson, Marc Liardet, Anne Liardet, Antoine Brunel and Damien Guillou.
The 30th ARC fleet leaves on Sunday, and here in Las Palmas the atmosphere is keen with anticipation writes Irish Transatlantic debutante Frank Quinn.
Crossing for the first time, I'm on a fine UK-registered Nordship 43 DS called Nina, owned by one-time Dublin resident Stephen Cooke. We're six in all: judging by the provisions we've just stowed, it will be a busy schedule of eating and snacking, occasionally interspersed with sailing.
There are more than 200 boats here counting down to the start. It's a well-run event, with daily seminars and a social programme. The chat in the bars is around prep, prep and more prep. T-shirted Raymarine techies are kept well-busy, and the chandler down the road has started a number system for serving.
Just three Irish boats are registered: Alpaire, a Hallberg-Rassy 48 skippered by Des Cummins; Crackerjack, Colum O'Sullivan's Oyster 53; and BAM, Conor Fogerty's HYC-based Sun Fast 3600. Among the smallest boats in the racing fleet, His target is 14-16 days to St Lucia.
A section of the ARC fleet in Las Palmas
Contrary to the popular plan of 'heading south until the butter melts', he intends to head west early. "We plan to ride as far as possible until it gets light," he says, "then head down to pick up the trades." Downwind rig is an A2 (tricolour!), A5 and a Code Zero. Crewing are Louis Bell, Robert Cooper, and Daragh Heagney.
It's Conor's 29th transatlantic. Once in St Lucia the plan is to compete in the Caribbean 600, then return to prep for the solo Fastnet and the Round Ireland two–hander. He points out One and Only, a Polish-registered sistership. "It will be a good race," he says.
Back to Nina, where the creature comforts include water maker, generator and a fine bank of electronics. As I type, vegetables and fruit are arriving so it's time to get busy.
Signing off... you can track Nina and all the Irish boats on the ARC site here
Irish sailor and artist Pete Hogan spent a few days in Las Palmas as the fleet was assembling before departure to Saint Lucia and you can see his watercolours here
In late June, one of sailing's most celebrated yachts will attempt to retrace the steps of her first, and most significant, victory. The 52-foot yawl Dorade, owned by Pam Levy and Matt Brooks (Tiburon, Calif.), will join 40 other boats competing in the Transatlantic Race 2015, which starts off Newport, R.I., and finishes off the southwestern coast of England. The race is organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.
Dorade, the seventh design from the Sparkman & Stephens design shop, was barely a year old when Olin and Rod Stephens and a crew of five sailors, including their father, started the 1931 Transatlantic Race off Newport, R.I., bound for Plymouth, England, 2,800 miles away. The trip took just over 17 days. Dorade was the first boat to finish and the race's overall champion on corrected time.
For the Stephens brothers, it was a transformative moment: in the coming years, they would each take on primary roles in the development of the sport. Dorade would make her own wake as well, stringing together an impressive, unparalleled for the time, series of victories on the East and West Coasts of the United States and in Europe.
After a series of significant re-fits, the boat was returned to original condition a few years ago by Levy and Brooks. Perfect for installation in a museum, many said, or for civilized day racing on the classic yacht circuit. But Levy and Brooks had other plans, namely to take the grand dame of ocean racing and repeat all of the races it won in the 1930s, including the Transatlantic Race, Newport Bermuda, Transpac and Rolex Fastnet.
"Everyone said we were proposing something that wasn't even in the realm of possibility," says Brooks of Dorade's four-race "Return to Blue Water" campaign. "Now we're coming up to the last two races—the Transatlantic Race 2015 and the Rolex Fastnet Race—and no one is questioning that the boat can do this." (Two years ago, Dorade won overall, corrected-time honors in the Transpac Race, beating a host of the latest carbon-fiber rockets; in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race, she took first in her class under IRC.)
"Olin and Rod designed one hell of a boat," says Brooks. "I haven't met anyone who has sailed on her who doesn't learn to love her and trust her. She's very strong, very dependable; she just needs to be treated right. With wood boats, you're always in refit mode. But we're racing and sailing this boat 10,000 miles a year and she absolutely responds to that."
Winning silver with this historic yacht requires a comprehensive commitment. Brooks, Levy and their team are constantly maintaining and refining the yacht. This past winter, says Brooks, getting the bottom as smooth as possible and improving sail design were two areas of focus. Sailing the boat also requires a specific touch.
"If you are trying to muscle the boat into submission at the helm it is never going to happen," says Levy. "It will win. Having a balanced helm is critical."
For the Transatlantic Race 2015, Brooks and Levy have set as their first goal to beat the 17 days, one hour and 14 minutes it took Dorade to sail the course in 1931. Modern technology, including synthetic sail fabric, should give this year's team an edge; however, the course in 2015 is likely to be quite a bit longer than it was in 1931 due to an extreme number of icebergs in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The fleet will be required to sail east for a while before turning north for the Great Circle Route, which takes advantage of the earth's slightly oval shape to shave critical miles off the passage between the United States and Europe.
Whether or not they can match the boat's pace in 1931, Brooks and Levy couldn't be more excited about the prospect of this legendary yacht coming full circle to its first significant accomplishment.
"Of all the races we've done, the Transatlantic Race is the one that makes our heart go pitter patter, because it was Olin and Rod's first big victory, and it's what launched them in business in yacht design," says Levy. "We know from talking to Olin's family and from what he has written that he had a real affection for the boat. It gives us a lot of pleasure to do well with her."
#HiberniaExpress – The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has been advised that TE SubCom, on behalf of Hibernia Express, is scheduled to carry out a Route Clearance Operation and a Pre Lay Grapnel Run along the Hibernia Express cable route off the South of Ireland and Bristol Channel. The department has issued a marine notice to all Shipowners, Fishing Vessel Owners, Agents, Shipmasters, Skippers, Fishermen, Yachtsmen and Seafarers.
TE SubCom is prime contractor to Hibernia Express to supply and install a trans-Atlantic subsea fiber optic telecommunications cable system designated the "Hibernia Express Cable System" between Halifax (Nova Scotia), Cork (Ireland) and Brean (United Kingdom). A schematic representation of the whole of the route of the cable is shown below, as well as the start and end points of the route position listings.
Position Listing for Hibernia Express from offshore Cork, Ireland to Brean UK:-
Start Point (WGS-84) 51˚ 15.0760" N 008˚ 39.2900" W
End Point 51˚ 17.1808" N 003˚ 00.8175" W
Position Listing for Hibernia Express from the Continental Shelf to offshore Cork, Ireland:-
Start Point (WGS-84) 51˚ 39.1700" N 015˚ 11.6480" W
End Point 51˚ 15.0760" N 008˚ 39.2900" W
Position Listing for Hibernia Express from Cork landing to offshore Cork, Ireland:-
Start Point (WGS-84) 51˚ 38.6875" N 008˚ 34.9908" W
End Point 51˚ 15.0760" N 008˚ 39.2900" W
Generally, at water depths less than 1,500 metres, the cable route will be cleared of debris and obstructions (including removal of out-of-service cables), the seabed will be cleared to receive the cable, and the cable will be laid and buried by plow within that trench. At water depths greater than 1,500 metres, the cable will generally be laid directly on the seabed.
A cable corridor which is cleared of all out-of service cables must be properly established. The width of the corridor will be between approximately 200 and 1000 metres, depending on water depth. This clearance will be by severance and lateral displacement of the out of service cables, with retrieval on board the ship of severed portions for ultimate disposal ashore.
In addition to clearance of out-of-service cables, grapnel drags will be performed over the corridors so established to clear away other sea-bed debris such as abandoned wires, hawsers or other gear. The grapnel drags will penetrate the seabed by 40-50 cm and materials recovered will similarly be retrieved on board ship for ultimate disposal ashore.
Although more than one ship in total will be required to perform the whole of the project, the vessel "MV Atlantic Guardian" (Callsign: V3AR3), will undertake these Route Clearance and Pre Lay Grapnel Runs along the cable route as depicted in the accompanying chart.
The operations will start in Brean, United Kingdom on 24th March 2015 and will head west from the Bristol Channel, into the Celtic Sea and south of Ireland onto the Continental Shelf. The route clearance operations will last for approximately 45 days, weather permitting. Overall, operations are due to complete in deep sea off the Continental Shelf in mid June 2015 weather permitting. "MV Atlantic Guardian" will be displaying the lights and shapes associated with the work.
The vessel will be towing grapnels astern at a distance depending on water depth and, as such, will be restricted in its ability to manoeuvre and all vessels are requested to give this operation a wide berth. The project vessel will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.
All vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, are requested to give the "MV Atlantic Guardian" and her towed equipment a wide berth and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.
All mariners are reminded of their responsibilities under the International Collision Regulations and are reminded of Marine Notice No. 17 of 2007, which gives general advice in relation to the activities of vessels engaged in survey work for hydrographic, seismic, fishing research and underwater operations.
The International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) are implemented in Irish law by the Merchant Shipping (Collision Regulations) (Ships and Water Craft on the Water) Order 2012 [S.I. No. 507 of 2012], and the Signals of Distress (Ships) Rules 2012 [S.I. No.170 of 2012]. See Marine Notice No. 06 of 2013. These Statutory Instruments may be purchased by mail order from Government Publications, Office of Public Works, 52 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. Tel: (01) 6476834/1890-213434. They are also available online at: www.irishstatutebook.ie.
Irish Maritime Administration,
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport,
Leeson Lane, Dublin 2, Ireland.
#rorc – After leading the RORC fleet out of the Canary Islands yesterday afternoon the Finot-Conq 100, Nomad IV, sailed by Jean-Paul Riviere, was leading the race until gear failure forced the French Maxi to head back to the Canary Islands for repairs writes Louay Habib. All of the crew are safe and well. At about 2000 UTC on Monday 1st December, Nomad IV was approximately 110 miles south west of La Palma when the RORC Transatlantic tracker showed the boat had turned around and was heading back towards the Canaries.
The inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA), started on Saturday 30th November 1000 UTC from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, Canary Islands bound for Grenada, West Indies, 2,995 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
At 2138 UTC, Nomad IV contacted the RORC Race Committee by satellite link to report that the boom of the 100ft Maxi had broken but that all were safe on board. The RORC Race Committee have remained in contact with Nomad IV and it is understood that the crew do not require assistance and plan to head back to the Canaries, probably Tenerife, to effect repairs.
Nomad IV was the hot favourite for Line Honours for the RORC Transatlantic Race to win the prestigious IMA Trophy and hopefully the team can effect a repair that will allow them to re-continue. However, the incident occurred over 100 miles out into the Atlantic and the French team will have virtually no chance of catching the front runners, even if a solution to the problem can be found quickly.
Nomad's misfortune means that at dawn on day three, the battle for the overall lead is between Jeremy Pilkington's RP78, Lupa of London and Russian Southern Wind 94 Windfall, skippered by Fabrizio Oddone. Windfall was 50 miles north of Lupa of London's position but in terms of distance to the finish, the two yachts are neck and neck. Windfall is positioned to skirt south around a high pressure system, which the Maxi will intend to slingshot around. Meanwhile Lupa of London seem to have taken a more conservative approach, keeping further away from the system and staying further south. The wind is due to veer east in the coming days and go lighter. If the wind does veer this will free off Windfall's angle before Lupa of London.
American Class40 Oakcliff Racing, skippered by Hobie Ponting, has had a great last 24 hours, sailing past Aref Lahham's Yacana in the early hours of this morning and at 0800 UTC was 11 miles ahead. However, Yacana, a classic Swan 68, is still estimated to be leading IRC One.
Currently 4th in IRC One, making 8.7 knots and 3 miles ahead of Sérénade, is the bright yellow Pogo 40, Bingo. One of four French teams in the race, Bingo is owned by husband and wife team from Paris, Isabelle and Yves Haudiquet and sailed with their long-time friends, Jean François Haupt and Pierre Crepin. Yves Haudiquet, from Yacht Club Paul Vatine, Le Havre, commented before the start: "I'm a lucky man with a 40ft boat able to surf day after day with the alizé (tradewinds) and with a motivated crew. My boat was built to compete in this sort of race and I'm hoping for a long surf ride and to increase the average boat speed from my last crossing."
Nigel Passmore's British J/133, Apollo 7 is currently leading IRC Two. The Plymouth team had an excellent night, blasting along under Code Zero to open up a 22 mile lead by dawn on Frank Lang's French X-40, Optim'X.
Follow the progress of the race via the fleet tracker: http://rorctransatlantic.rorc.org/tracking/2014-fleet-tracking.html
#rorc – After two delays to the start due to horrendous weather conditions, the RORC Transatlantic Race in association with the International Maxi Association started from Puerto Calero Marina at 1000 UTC, Sunday 30th November.
It was third time lucky as the RORC fleet departed Puerto Calero Marina, Lanzarote bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada West Indies, 3000 miles away across the Atlantic Ocean. Rain squalls had been disturbing the air in the early hours of the morning, but virtually nothing would have prevented the eager fleet to set off on the inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race. Sunshine and a gentle northerly breeze prevailed for the start - the only abnormal weather feature was a perfect double rainbow, pointing the way to the turning mark off Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife - the only mark of the course before the fleet would make landfall in Grenada.
American Class40, Oakcliff Racing, skippered by Hobie Ponting, got away well and took an inshore line to take the lead. However, the young team from Rhode Island were soon overhauled by a trio of Maxi yachts; Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot 100, Nomad IV, Russian Southern Wind 94, Windfall skippered by Fabrizio Oddone and Jeremy Pilkington's British RP78, Lupa of London.
The rainbow was not the only surreal experience at the start, a fleet of young Spanish Optimist sailors had decided to use the yellow inflatable turning mark for a training session. However, three loud blasts from the coach's whistle recalled the young sailors to a safe position, as humming deck gear and huge sail area, announced the imminent arrival of the Maxi fleet. No doubt the young sailors will tell the tale for years to come.
Five hours into the race, Nomad IV had rounded the southern tip of Lanzarote just ahead of Windfall and Lupa of London. Derek Hatfield's Canadian Volvo 60, Spirit of Adventure was leading the chasing pack. Frank Lang's French X-40, Optim'X showed impressive speed, making the turning mark in the company of Class40, Oakcliff Racing and ahead of Nigel Passmore's British J/133, Apollo 7.
Quotes from the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race:
Optim'X skipper, Frank Lang is taking part in his fifth Transatlantic race:
"I wanted to participate in this new RORC adventure and to share the experience with sailing friends," commented Frank. "We're looking forward to some fun racing and competition and to the long spinnaker surf rides bought on by the trade winds. It will be interesting to compare our result on corrected time with the big boats in the fleet."
Don José Calero, President Calero Marinas:
"It has been an absolute pleasure to see the impressive racing machines for this inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race in Puerto Calero. We have enjoyed hosting the crews and helping them to discover our incredible island of Lanzarote and we are pleased that they seem to have appreciated everything that Puerto Calero Marina has to offer."
"We would like to thank Eddie Warden Owen and the RORC team for choosing Puerto Calero for what we very much hope will become an established and popular annual event and we are already looking forward to next year for the second edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race."
RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen:
"Just over two years ago, the RORC decided to start a transatlantic race and it is just fantastic to see these yachts away. I am delighted to see a really co
mpetitive start. They were all pushing very hard, even though it is an endurance test for them, I am very proud to see them all going especially after the amazing weather we have had this week. The plan has come together, we have 11 boats for the first edition, but this race will grow and become a classic in the future."
RORC Admiral & Secretary General of the IMA, Andrew McIrvine:
"It is an impressive sight to watch the Maxis powering away. Once the breeze came up, the acceleration was absolutely phenomenal and they just sped away from the rest of the fleet and I am sure the Maxis will have a great battle. They have only been going for an hour, but they are already changing sails and employing boat-on-boat tactics and the lead has changed three times already. This is a perfect race for Maxis at a perfect time of year to cross the Atlantic in superb conditions to take part in the IMA Caribbean season."
#rorc – The start of the RORC Transatlantic Race has been further delayed due to adverse weather conditions. A further amendment to the Sailing Instructions was posted by the Race Committee delaying the scheduled start to 1000 UTC Sunday 30th November.
The Race Committee made the decision to postpone the start because the forecasted weather conditions for a decrease in wind as the day progressed has not materialised. In fact the wind has increased during the day to a steady 35+ knots with gusts in excess of 40 knots (and higher!) and the committee were concerned at the ability to lay a start line in the deep water off Puerto Calero Marina as well as the competitors' ability to manoeuvre safely in the confines of the marina.
The race will now start on Sunday 30th November at 1000 UTC.
#routedurhum – It has been a dramatic night with 15 incidents across the classes, including a collision between an Ultime trimaran and a cargo ship, the air rescue of a sailor after his boat lost its keel and overturned, and a Multi50 sailor who is awaiting help after his float broke off.
Thomas Coville saw his hopes of winning the Route Du Rhum vanish during the first night of the trans-Atlantic race when he damaged his yacht in a collision with a cargo ship.
Competing in the Ultimate class, the skipper of Sodebo Ultime escaped uninjured but damaged the starboard float on his boat.
Coville, who won the 3,542-nautical mile (6,560-kilometer) leg between Saint-Malo and the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in 1998 in the monohull class, was among the favorites for this year's race.
Another French skipper, François Angoulvant, had to be rescued after his Class 40 Team Sabrosa lost its keel. Angoulvant was airlifted to Brest where he is in good condition, according to race organisers.
Loick Peyron was leading the field early Monday aboard Banque Populaire VII.
Clipper Race chairman and founder, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, has sent his first blog since he started Transatlantic solo race, the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe yesterday at 1400 CET from Saint-Malo, France.
With winds of 30 knots plus and large seas reported overnight, Sir Robin sent this report from his Open 60, Grey Power, this morning.
A grey sea, overcast, light drizzle and a West South Wester'ly Force 5 greeted me at dawn this morning. I am currently 40 miles from Ushant and debating whether to take the inner side of the Traffic Separation zone. Currently making 6-7 knots. Could do more if I put up more sail but we'll stay like this for the time being, as the wind is still 20 plus knots and gusting higher, just had one of 29 knots and the sea very lumpy.
It's a long race, and no point in breaking things at the beginning. I made a very cautious start. My Clipper Race colleague Simon Johnston was with me until half an hour before when my Rhum class competitor Bob Escoffier sent his rib to take him ashore. He has been invaluable, as was fellow colleague Alex Dower.
I soon found myself surrounded by 40's most of yesterday evening, pushing hard. Those boats are quick, but when the forecast squalls of 40 knots arrived I would not have wanted to be in one. Fortunately I had decided to settle in on the first night, so already had 3 reefs in the main and the storm jib set, but the boat was still pushed hard over and even with the mainsail pushed right down its track, was crashing into the waves.
I saw a couple of Automatic Identification Scheme targets turn round, I think they were in the race, but it was a gear breaking situation if you did not think of the boat and try to get her comfortable. We came through without damage, except for the staysail sheets becoming amorous, and it took a dark, cold wet hour on the foredeck, often under water, sorting out the resulting snakes' honeymoon.
Now typing this on a jumping boat is far from easy, as the computer often skips a letter or inserts one you did not ask for.
I am wondering how the big multis are fairing and if everyone is alright. There was some mention on Channel 16 last night but it was in fast spoken French.
C'est tout pour le moment.