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Ocean Planet Vendée Globe Update:
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Position 04 23N, 26 12W, @ 23:40 UT

Day 11 of the Vendée Globe…

Dem Doldrum Blues…..

Well, after going on about how great the sailing was in my last update….well, the fun part is over with. We are now in the dreaded “Doldrums,” a vast area of HUGE thunderclouds with torrential rains, interspersed by agonizing light winds. In the massive thunderstorms, there is lightning to fear along with downdraft winds up to and over 40kts.

In a mere two days the area has fully lived up to its reputation. Yesterday, I went from careening at a high speed in a downdraft (until I was able to get the genniker rolled up, a story in itself), to beating upwind for hours in 25kt winds, in addition to two hours TOTALLY becalmed and slatting noisily in the leftover waves….all this before early afternoon.

Today has been a series of TORRENTIAL downpours along with the wind blasts. I get set up in my gear for the storm when I see them coming, then stay in the cockpit and trim the sails and autopilot while trying to make the most of the sudden burst of speed. I tend to reach way off and just try to cover as much ground (er, water) as possible as long as it’s in the general direction we want to go.

I’ve had about two hours sleep total for the past two days, so I’m very tired, but will squeeze in some naps tonight..right after this update, I hope! But alas, more ominous towering clouds are headed this way….yikes! The fleet positions just came in, and I need to plot those out and see what the others are up to.

Okay, I’m getting way dozy and it’s starting to snort outside again, gotta go!

Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet


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