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Ocean Planet Report
Wednesday, November 20, 2002 1145gmt
Pos: 33 53S, 15 42W


Several first time experiences through last night and today.

Our first brush with a South Atlantic low pressure system was sort of a bust, as I wound up too far north and missing the bulk of the breeze. The weather files I had did predict less wind up here but I had heard that you could usually count on a fair bit more wind than the files show. This looked like a good chance to save some miles, and besides a jibe to the south would be at an ugly angle probably crossing behind Brad. Unfortunately, for once the weather file is exactly correct. This was confirmed by Brad’s fantastic speed in the south and an email confirming he has 30-35kts to my 20. Oh well! At least there’s a good chance I’ll be in the wind longer up here as the low passes below us.

Second first: Just as I was lying in the bunk to take a nap, things got strangely quiet and the speed plummeted from 12 to 8 kts. Unfortunately I knew what had happened, that we had snagged some major flotsam of some kind. Sure enough, a peek over the side revealed a huge dark wad of heavy rope or netting, now having slid down to pile up just above the keel bulb. Initial luffing up and sailing sideways had little effect. So I had to bear away again, roll up the reacher, and REALLY stuff it up to sail as much backwards as possible. Just when I resigning myself to lowering all sails and a cold swim, the devilish wad of junk floated up to weather of the boat and came loose. I tried to get a pic of it but we were drifting away too fast for a good one. I decided not to send the one I have since it didn’t do the dark blob justice.

Third first: As much as I enjoyed watching the acrobatic brown birds the other day, they paled in comparison to: my first Albatross sighting. WOW!! There was no mistaking this fabulous creature, first for it’s enormous size and wingspan (easily over 6ft) and also it’s spectacular speed and aerial ability. I was so amazed by the spectacle I hooted and hollered for a good while watching it’s maneuvers around the boat. It didn’t stay long and soon jetted away along the long ocean rollers that they seemingly use like magic for speed and lift. The distances these birds can cover must be vast, even without ever flapping their wings.

The wind is picking up some, thank heavens. Just hit 17kts…attached is a pic of 13kts or so. Note the logo for Brit supporter Richard Clifton’s CADCO on the boom: Still room available! Get your name or company name on the boom (and help us pay for it), for $1,000 per foot with a logo on both sides. If you hurry we can get it put on in Cape Town. You’ll be on our (very visually striking) new boom next to the a new logo for the fantastic official education website for the Around Alone: http://www.education.hsbc.com/ . And ya never know, it might just show up in an update, like CADCO…Thanks Richard! 

Southern Ocean under OceanPlanet



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