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Ocean Planet Vendée Globe Update:
Monday, December 27, 2004
Position 47 30S, 135 09E, @ 05:30 UT

Monday check-in…

Today things are going pretty well on the good ship Ocean Planet.

The low pressure storm that we slowed to let pass over has moved on and conditions have been slowly changing over yesterday and today as the first of a couple of ridges of high pressure approach. My job now is to stay just south of the first zone of HP and keep moving fast enough east to keep ahead of the next one (more of a ridge) while conditions are relatively nice.

The dominating factor that affects our speed has been the state of the waves. We can have lots of wind and go fast with no problems, but when the sea state is bad you must slow down or it feels like you will be bashed to pieces.

BIG waves are fine, as long as they are not breaking, and most importantly of all that they are all heading in one dominant direction. But what happens when the weather systems move past, they whip up the waves in several directions. For example, yesterday we were beam and close reaching which could have been quite fast, but a lot of the waves were coming from IN FRONT of us so it was like pounding upwind. So you would get surfing on a big swell from behind, and then start pounding on the waves from the other direction. Remember when you used to ride a big inner tube behind a powerboat and swinging wide around a corner and hitting another boat’s wake….bouncing you all over the place and sometimes off the inner tube? No? Well, I think you get the idea, but on a 60 foot boat it REALLY bites.

So we slow down. Today the “anti-waves” have subsided and thankfully we still have wind so we are going at a nice 12-13 knots in the right direction with minimal fuss…..aaahhhhh……

For more on Wind and Waves, check out the latest on http://www.oceanplanet.org/, and www.bigelow.org/vendeeglobe, for it just so happens that they are this week’s subjects!

I know Christmas is past, but I thought I would share one of the many great emails I received wishing us well. This one is a fun poem made up just for Ocean Planet by our friend Geoff Lamdin of Brunswick, Maine. (To the meter of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”).

Twas the night of Christmas
And all through the boat
What were the noises of creaks and waves all about 

The sheets were stored in their pockets with care
In hopes that the weather
Soon would be clear

While Bruce in his fleece
Priscilla in her coat
Kept praying and hoping
They’d all stay afloat

When out of the South
There arose such a clatter
Bruce fell out of his bunk
To see what was the matter

A rogue wave?
A jibe?
A floundering sail?
Prepared they were
to bail and bail.

But no, distress not
For this wasn’t the case
No Vendee was lost
No racer’s last place

For out of the South
Through water and sky
Came eight tiny lights
Let me tell you why

For out from the pole
(a short cut he knew)
The wind brought Bruce Santa
And some friends he knew too

Rocky and Wilson
Priscilla we know
And hundreds, nay thousands
OPers did send

Warm winds and best wishes
A path through the storm
The love of the many
to keep you from harm

Then out to the wave tops
And off o’er the sea
Sailed Santa and dolphins
Merry Christmas to thee!

Thanks Geoff!

Bruce and Ocean Planet (half way done with my Xmas trim here….)

Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet


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