Major Bummer for Nick
What a bummer for Skandia skipper, Nick Moloney. Yesterday the keel blade of his boat keel broke off about 30 cm from the bottom of the hull. This ends his hopes of being the first Australian to finish the Vendee and also the first man to complete around the world races in the three great events: Solo (Vendee), with crew (Whitbread/Volvo) and unlimited mulithull (speed record aboard the giant catamaran “Orange”). He is also the only person to have windsurfed the notorious Bass Straits from Australia to Tasmania!
Thankfully, he is fine as he managed to keep the boat upright and is headed for Brazil.
Nick is an iron sailor that had already endured some of the worst luck and possibly the worst weather of all the Vendee entries, but was facing the final stretch with his usual determination. Nick and I have talked on the Iridium satellite phone now and then during the race, and he has given me great emotional support and encouragement whenever I was down. The rest of the race won’t be the same for me without him. I’m hoping that he can save the boat and make it to his next great challenge, unscathed.
Meanwhile, back on board Ocean Planet, we are working our way east to avoid a forming zone of high pressure coming off the South American continent. This course is not as fast as continuing along the shore would have been in the short term, but it will be better in a few days by giving us a more upwind position over the high and better wind angles. I have some work to do on board, as I need to do some stitching on the furling line for the bowsprit furler. I would have just replaced it, but it is a really long line and it turns out that we didn’t pack a spare of the right length….OOPS! What a blunder. I do have another furler drum that I can mount on the sprit that has a short loop of line in it…but one has to furl the sail from the bow (not fun!), so that is an option but I will to try to fix the primary one first.
It is AMAZING how much warmer the water has become. In what seems like just a few days, the water temp has gone from the mid 40’s (F) to nearly 70F! There have been strong currents both favorable (the Falkland Current) and unfavorable while working north. In a few more days we will be getting closer to the latitude of the Amazon River. The Amazon River outflow into the ocean is HUGE and accounts for about one fifth of the entire freshwater river outflow into the oceans! So if you haven’t already guessed, this week’s subject on http://www.oceanplanet.org/ and www.bigelow.org/vendeeglobe is the Amazon river outflow and ocean salinity. Check it out!
Ok, time for me to start sewing…..
Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet