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Ocean Planet Vendée Globe Update:
Wednesday, January 5, 2005
Position 52 11S, 165 43E/W, @ 14:57 UT


It’s getting cold now.

Despite my tendencies to hedge to the north, we are now at 52 degrees south. Just a day or so ago Conrad on Hellomoto reported an iceberg “the size of Wembley Stadium” at 51 32S, 178 59E. Thankfully we are farther east here and the water is reading a bit warmer than it was along the longitude of Conrad’s sighting and many others. We watch the water temperature closely, not so much to make sure the ice is melted (it may take years for a big berg to melt, even in relatively warm water), but the differing temperatures give a hint of the current you are in and where it is coming from. If it is cooling as you move along, then you may be entering water flowing from the south which could be carrying ice.

It just so happens that this week’s subject on http://www.oceanplanet.org/ and http://www.bigelow.org/vendeeglobe is Antarctic Circumpolar Currents! Now there is a subject that I wish I had more time to study, it could come in handy…..;-) Check it out and see what you think.

At the moment the engine is charging the batteries, so as I write this I can’t hear the wind and water outside anymore over the engine noise. But I can certainly feel the water and air thundering under the hull when we catch a good wave and start surfing. We are slightly underpowered with one reef in our “Cuben Fiber” mainsail and the heavy reaching jib flying from the bowsprit, but the wind is slowly going to pick up and I am playing it safe.

Conrad on Hellomoto is not far to the south of us, and he has been working his way up to our latitude as we work down to his. The wind going back today, will be more from the south, and this will allow us to bear away a bit to the north. About time as I don’t want to go any farther south right now.

Conrad has probably been doing a number of jibes over the past few days looking at his average headings. This has cost him some speed, and we have been holding him off as this VMG running (Velocity Made Good-sailing downwind) is what Ocean Planet loves. However, when the wind backs to the south it is going to go far enough so that we will be close to beam reaching sometime tomorrow. This is where Conrad’s boat is legendary (it is the ex-Ecover of Mike Golding before he built his current new boat which is in third place), and we should get a bit of a show if he decides to pour it on. I hope to intersect his trajectory and get some pics and video if possible, but it is really hard to find and see another sailboat without a bit of work. We’ll see.

After the wind clocks back westerly, we should be more evenly matched again. In any case it is nice to have someone close by, for even at 100 miles away it is like he is next door!

On a very serious note:

There are many causes that rely on the support of donations from people everywhere. In fact, the entry of this boat named Ocean Planet has been made possible by such contributions (and a few loans).

But, I can’t imagine any current need that is greater than that of the refugees of the terrible tsunamis waves in Asia. This example of the deadly power of the ocean and earth is a shocking reminder that we all share the “Ocean Planet” and must help each other when the need arises.

I hope that my supporters and others will do what they can to help: the official Vendee Globe website, at www.vendeeglobe.fr/uk, is setting up a fund where donations can be sent to, to help send assistance.

From Bruce and Ocean Planet, the boat.


Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet


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