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Ocean Planet Vendée Globe Update:
Friday, February 18, 2005
Position 37 01N, 18 05W, @ 17:20 UT

Not Fun!

This is horrible sailing. The wind is from the worst direction, and the pounding makes it impossible to go a decent speed. Two things that have long been my “wish list” for Ocean Planet, more lead ballast and also forward water ballast tanks would sure come in handy right now.

The creaking and cracking noises coming from the keel box are gradually getting louder and louder. I hope that I’m correct in that it is not anything critical, but it does not sound very nice. But there is no way to inspect it, and there is no way to make it stop. In these waves the boat still pounds when practically standing still, so slowing down doesn’t do much.

About an hour ago I tacked after much consternation. It takes a long time to move all the gear to the new side so one doesn’t want to be tacking all the time when it is hard just to stand up. But our VMG was very bad, and it seemed we were continually headed on starboard tack, more so than the grib files have been indicating. So I’ll try to make a little easting on port tack until the wind clocks back again, which should be in eight hours or so.

I have been trying to block the noises by listening to music or watching DVD’s with headphones. It helps a lot to try to forget we are beating up the boat. But sometime we land so hard I have to hang on for fear that I’ll break away the nav station chair.

Conditions do not look promising all the way to Les Sables, so psychologically this will be the hardest 1000 miles I have ever sailed.

I’m ready to get this over with!

Banging away in-between the Azores and the coast of Portugal,

Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet


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