Archive for the ‘offshore racing’ Category

At 12:00 GMT on December 31st, record breaking British yachtswoman Dee Caffari and her Spanish co-skipper, Anna Corbella, crossed the start line of the 25,000 mile Barcelona World Race onboard the IMOCA 60 yacht GAES Centros Auditivos. This is Caffari’s first round the world race since the epic Vendée Globe which saw Caffari finish sixth out of 30 starters to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, both ways around the world.

As the only all-female crew in the competition, both Caffari and Corbella are keen to put in a consistent and competitive performance and showed their enthusiasm as they rounded the North buoy in third position 26 minutes after crossing the start line. Before leaving the dock, Caffari spoke about the first stage of the race:

“The Mediterranean is complicated and we’ve practised here a lot but we’ve got 500 miles of it to start and finish with and honestly this is the part I dread the most. In stark contrast, Anna knows the Med well but has never sailed in the Southern Ocean so hopefully we can support each other and draw on our strengths in each area.”

After Alex Thomson’s forced retirement from the race due to an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday, Dee Caffari will be the only one flying the flag for Great Britain in the race.

Good luck ladies!

 

Read more at:  Barcelona World Race

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New York to Barcelona Transatlantic Record

New York to Barcelona Transatlantic Record

Sailing News

Well, March was an interesting month with sailing events around the world, and even a new world sailing record hitting the books. Sailing in Miami, match racing in New Zealand, Around the World boats coming into San Francisco, Plastiki sails out onto the Pacific, and more. There were even some new sailboats and mega yachts launched, including a huge solar powered boat! April is already heating up too, with regattas and sailing record attempts planned on all the coasts.

Youngest Person to Sail Around Cape Horn Solo: Abby Sunderland, one of the two 16 year old girls currently sailing non-stop around the world, achieved a mighty milestone recently. The teenager rounded the infamous Cape Horn, becoming the youngest person ever to sail around the famous landmark alone. Read More: Abby Sunderland

16 Year Old Girl Sailing Around the World: Jessica Watson, the other 16 year old girl sailing around the world non-stop for a sailing record is also doing well, and seem to be counting the miles until she reaches home in Australia. Jessica has now sailed past the 19,000 nautical mile mark of her solo circumnavigation, today is day 170 of her voyage. She said she was happy for Abby the day after her rival went around Cape Horn: “It was great to hear that Abby Sunderland rounded Cape Horn yesterday. I’m really thrilled for her. It brings back lots of memories of when I was down there. Go Abby!” Read More about: Jessica Watson

Sailing in Miami: The annual Miami Grand Prix sailing regatta was marked a success by those who sailed in it again this year.  The competition was tough, but Gold Digger II took the win in IRC. Flash Gordon took it for the Farr 40s, and Teasing Machine beat all the other Melges 32s. Read more: Miami Grand Prix

sailing

Sailing in Florida

Louis Vuitton: Emirates Team New Zealand beat the Mascalzone Latino Audi sailing team in the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland finals. Next up in America’s Cup sailing is the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena in Sardinia on 22 May 2010. Read More: Louis Vuitton Series

Virgin Islands Regatta – Virgin Islands – Sailboats from around the world gathered in the clear blue Caribbean waters off St. Thomas this past weekend, sailing at the 37th annual International Rolex Regatta. Nearly 70 teams competed this year, sailing all types of boats from little beach cats all the way up to the Frers 80 yacht Kialoa V, which was the largest sailboat in the fleet. Read More: Sailing St.Thomas

Sailing San Francisco

Clipper Race Sailing San Francisco

Clipper Around the World Race:  Under the shadow of darkness the dragon of Qingdao sailed under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay, marking the end of the marathon North Pacific leg of the race from the team’s home port in China. The Chinese entry crossed the Race 7 Noonday Rock finish line near the North Farallone Islands to claim their second podium position of the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race. Most of the other Clipper Race yachts have also crossed the San Francisco finish line and are enjoying time in port. Read More: Clipper Race

Sailing Big Boats at St. Barts: Some spectacular yachts were seen racing around the island, participating in a little event known as the St Barths Bucket Regatta. John Williams and his crew on the J-Class Ranger took the overall win at the St. Barths Bucket Regatta, while the Perini Navi yachts Andromeda la Dea and P2 had to settle for second and third respectively. Read More: Yachts Racing in St Barths

Plastiki

Plastiki

Plastiki Sets Sail: After years of development and promises about David de Rothschild’s plastic bottle boat, the Plastiki set sail this month across the Pacific Ocean. De Rothschild hopes the ship’s expedition will bring attention to the global waste problem. “We’re needlessly losing millions of seabirds and hundreds of thousands of marine mammals from ingesting plastic every year, I decided to take this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ problem and build a boat out of the very items that we were seeing ending up in our natural environment.” Read More: Plastiki

Solar Powered Boat: Another “green” boat, Planet Solar, the largest solar powered boat ever built has been unveiled, and will soon be ready to take on the world. At 101 feet long, with 50 feet of beam, this boat is indeed massive enough to be called a mega-yacht, making it the world’s first eco-mega-power-yacht. Read more: Planet Solar

Sailing

Sailing

Groupama 3 New World Sailing Record: The trimaran Groupama 3 became the fastest boat to circumnavigate the Earth non-stop, ever* in March. Franck Cammas and crew sailed around the world faster than any other, and earned one of the most important and coveted awards in sailing, the Jules Verne Trophy. Read More: The Fastest Boat Around – Groupama 3

New York-Barcelona Transoceanic Sailing Record: The New York-Barcelona Transoceanic Sailing Record begins between April 5th and the 12th from Ambrose Light in New York and will finish in the Barcelona port between April 20th and the 30th. The two competing teams are comprised of Alex Pella, Pepe Ribes and the American Stan Schreyer with Estrella Damm, and Pachi Rivero, Antonio Piris and Peter Becker with W Hotels. The New York Yacht Club, which is collaborating with the project, has picked Edward Cesare as a reserve skipper for both teams. — Read More: NY-BYC

World Match Racing Tour: Looking forward, April 6th sees the start of the World Match Racing Tour culminating in crowning the ISAF Match Racing World Champion at the end of  10 international events. This year’s Tour starts on Tuesday in Marseille with ‘Match Race France’ running from April 6-11, at Yacht Club Pointe Rouge.  This is the second time Marseille has hosted the WMRT, the area is blessed with excellent match racing courses and is a much-loved destination for the global stars of the sailing world. Read More: World Match Racing Tour

Read More: Sailing News

 

Transat Jacques Vabre

Transat Jacques Vabre Sailing

Transat Jacques Vabre – Sailing into the Caribbean

It is the perfect time for the leading IMOCA Open 60’s to stretch out in near perfect downwind conditions in the Transat Jacques Vabre, maximum sail power most of the time in the pursuit of pure speed. Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier Brénac on Safran have managed to continue their gains against their near identical sister-ship Groupe Bel, the leaders gaining another three miles from their pursuers. All three leading boats are pretty much lined up nose to tail on the same gybe, firing on all cylinders towards the coast.

Certainly the passage through the West Indies was near faultless for the leading duo. If Safran co-skipper had expressed any quiet reservations yesterday morning, then 24 hours later they have proven unfounded as their margin – worth at least 3.5 hours in these conditions – remains solid.

Safran covered the best 24 hours run, making some 360 miles, largely facilitated by the

Generally stable trade winds for the moment and the lack of squalls.

The leading trio are all under big spinnakers, spearing downwind on a more releaxing set-up than the approach to the islands.

The Safran duo are opting for a route taking them closer to the coast of Venezuela, following their weather files routing which promise stronger winds there.

Mike Golding Yacht Racing followed through the same routing yesterday night and will soon break into the increasingly stable, easterly trade winds. Golding reported this morning that they passed through the islands with only a momentary slow down of about half an hour’s duration. Now with the stable winds for foreseeable future on  a 400 miles gybe he concedes that his tactical opportunities are limited.

“At the moment we are doing nicely. I think hopefully we will do better now that the breeze has evened up. It is a big gap now and so realistically we are trying to make sure we get the boat to the finish safely, and if a miracle happens we will be ready to take advantage, but at the moment the forecast is not promising anything miraculous. Which is good in a way. But it is a little bit processional. And there is not much Mich can do. Now he has gybed there is no alternative in the south, and there might have been. So to go much further sout. He has looked it more carefully and even now is taking the pain on an unfavoured gybe.” Said Golding this morning.

MGYR is now some 270 miles behind Safran still with 250 miles in hand over Foncia.

Foncia are taking some pain now on the non-making starboard gybe (effectively diverging away from the optimum course) as the option to enter in the south and go for a more southerly routing has closed for the 2007 TJV race winner, and just as Golding seems to be conceding that the die is cast, so too Desjoyeaux considers his options are now very limited.

Despite all the predictions, including Yves Parlier’s own, 1876 seem to be hanging on tenaciously to the breeze and to a solid sixth place as their nearest challengers struggled with light winds until early yesterday. The closely matched trio – Veolia Environnement, W-Hotels and Aviva are now in good trade winds breeze and perhaps we will see the gaps open more. The British duo are routing for St Lucia for their pit stop tomorrow.

Mike Golding, GBR, Mike Golding Yacht Racing reports: “We are well on our way in the Caribbean sea and picked up the breeze this morning and are tramping along now. It was pretty easy through the islands. A nice downwind passage with probably half an hour of wind shadow which sort of hooked us up slightly, nothing damaging and we did not stop very much. We have things stable, we have a system running, with the engine start batteries charging, so it looks like we are all OK now Just lots of picking up bits and pieces for the guys to fix when we get in, nothing too complicated at all, it is knowing what you are doing rather than asking us sailors to do electrics.”

“We are under big spinnaker, full main doing 17 knots downwind, some squalls coming through, not vicious and giving us a header. So it is pretty much straight down the line stuff. And we are well inside the routing, so at the moment the routing has us doing several gybes but at the moment we are pointing straight, with the wind angle five or ten degrees wrong, the islands of Puerto Calinas off Columbia are in our way, effectively a mark in the course. It is four hundred miles ahead. I can see Bel and Safran getting lifted too, I guess we will shortly too.”

“At the moment we are doing nicely. I think hopefully we will do better now that the breeze has evened up. It is a big gap now and so realistically we are trying to make sure we get the boat to the finish safely, and if a miracle happens we will be ready to take advantage, but at the moment the forecast is not promising anything miraculous. Which is good in a way. But it is a little bit processional. And there is not much Mich can do. Now he has gybed there is no alternative in the south, and there might have been. So to go much further sout. He has looked it more carefully and even now is taking the pain on an unfavoured gybe.”

Brian Thompson, GBR, Aviva reports: “We have the spinnaker up, 20 knots, just at daylight and feel like we have had a good night. We are on our way to St Lucia and everything is good on the boat. We have fixed everything but the generator and are enjoying the race against W-Hotels and Veolia and it is the closest race in the fleet. I think that we feel quite OK against them. If W-Hotels gybed they would probably be just ahead.

The wind is due to pick up to 22-23 knots close to the islands, but these are great sailing.

We have not enough power to get the weather information and to run the systems, so we do feel very compromised.”

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Rolex Middle Sea Race by Kurt Arrigo

Rolex Middle Sea Race by Kurt Arrigo

Rolex Middle Sea Race

The 30th Rolex Middle Sea Race is proving to be one of the most fascinating in recent years and we are only thirty hours or so into the race. The pressure is on for Mike Slade and the crew of ICAP Leopard (GBR) if they still have ambitions to improve on the race record as well as take line honours. At 19.00 on Sunday evening the potent supermaxi had turned the northwest corner of Sicily and is almost exactly two hours behind the current course record holder’s pace. This may not seem a huge deficit, but in the high stakes game of poker being played it remains to be seen whether Slade is holding a Royal Flush or something less compelling.

For the moment it remains a big boat race for overall honours with, so far, the mini-maxis dominating the top five handicap positions at Capo Passero, Messina and Stromboli. Yet this part of the game is also far from over. Bella Mente (USA) and Rosebud/Team DYT (USA) have been the two biggest named casualties to join the increasing list of retirees today. With all monohulls bar one left to pass through the speed trap at Strait of Messina, the challenging conditions encountered so far have proved equally testing for front runners, mid-fleet and back markers.

It took the 69 competing yachts between five and eleven hours to cross the sea between Malta and Sicily on Saturday; certainly one of the faster fleet passages on record. ICAP Leopard was first to Capo Passero, only four minutes ahead of Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste (HKG) and, significantly, fifteen-minutes inside Rambler’s 2007 time. Last boat to pass, some six hours later was Zizanie (ITA), the veteran Sparkman & Stephens design that last did the race in 1974, winning the cruising division in the process. She was narrowly beaten to the rocky cape by Manana (MLT), surely the most heartening story in the race. Just three days ago, skipper, Kevin Dingli was cutting the remains of his mast free from his yacht Fekruna after a disastrous encounter with a waterspout during the coastal race. Step in the following morning his close friend, Peter Ellul Vincente, owner of Mananawith an offer of his boat. Some quick work to bring her up to standard and Dingli is back in the long distance race. His worst nightmares reverting to a dream come true. Dingli would like to do well, but right now is relieved just to be taking part. Manana exited the Strait just before sunset on Sunday night.

Saturday night, Sunday morning saw fun and games for all the crews, though a few will be ruing their luck as the pressure on equipment that typifies an offshore race started to take its toll. Wizsoft (ISR) was the first to pull into port with equipment failure, followed by Apepazza H30 (ITA). With reports from boats such as Elusive II Medbank (MLT) and Otra Vez Fexco (MLT) making reference to squalls coming from nowhere in the darkness retirements were to be expected. Maya Podesta on Elusive reported, “these things always seem to happen at night! Knock down after knock down with squall after squall. The lower spreader even managed to get a taste of salt in a 40-knot gust. Everyone aboard is a little wet, but fine.” The good news was that the crew were managing to tuck into some smoked salmon sandwiches. Not quite up to Nikata’s (GBR) haute cuisine standards of “slow roasted Moroccan lamb tagine and Sicilian cheese pasta” but surely welcome.

No news of the menu from Otra Vez, but clearly some bruising reminders of the 2007 race for Edward Gatt Floridia’s crew, as they wondered what else the gods of sea and wind had in store, advising, “wild conditions last night. Sailing with a second reef and small jib. Sea state up and we’ve no numbers after losing the wand [which records wind speeds at the top of the mast] in a squall.” By all accounts the fast downwind ride up the western shore of Sicily was carrying a sting in the tail for the unprepared and unlucky.

Leopard‘s report of the night’s proceedings was understandably upbeat, even though Slade was finding it hard to shake off Beau Geste, which tailed her bigger opponent up through the Strait like a policeman might a criminal. Leopard was playing the game smart and fair, her team of experienced ocean racers getting her through the tricky channel between mainland Italy and Sicily a good twenty minutes ahead of Rambler’s 2007 pace, at ten to midnight in the rain and fifty minutes ahead of Beau Geste.

The daylight hours of Sunday have been easier towards the back of the fleet, but drama was unfolding from early morning at the front. First Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente pulled out with equipment failure; an unfortunate and premature end to Fauth’s previously successful Mediterranean season. Then, a couple of hours later, news arrived that Roger Sturgeon’s, 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Rosebud/Team DYT had broken her mast and was heading to Milazzo, all crew unharmed. These two were joined a little while later by Jonathan Gambin’s Ton Ton Surfside (MLT). Gambin has good cause to be seriously disappointed, but was by all accounts lucky not to lose his mast as well. “We were having a really good race. We were at the front of our class even though we are not at our best point of sail going downwind,” said Gambin, continuing, “we had seen winds between 25 and 30 knots, and were fast with good boat speed. We needed to free a halyard during a sail change and sent a man up the mast. He spotted a big crack in the starboard spreader. Fortunately, we were on port tack. We might have lost the mast if the spreader had gone.” Gambin chose not to chance his luck any further, dropped his sails and has motored to Syracuse.

With 53 yachts round Stromboli by Sunday evening, the overall handicap leader is Andres Soriano’s Alegre (GBR), line honours winner at the 2008 Rolex Middle Sea Race. At Stromboli she led Luna Rossa (ITA) and Rán 2 (GBR) by a matter of a few seconds and minutes respectively. Just as on Saturday night, though, this is far too early to be popping the champagne cork even though the smaller yachts rounding the volcanic island later in the day have struck windless patches, as Hilary Cook on Nisida (GBR) reports, “After a varied race so far with a mix of near calm and 38 knot squalls, Stromboli has proved as atmospheric as ever. Approaching in the company of several boats we were suddenly doing 10 knots in driving rain and zero visibility. The rain then cleared for us to see other boats were headed or had their mainsails down. Then the wind died for us too as we went into the lee of the island. Of most note however is that this is the first time in 6 years – even two years ago – that we haven’t been becalmed off Stromboli.”

For ICAP Leopard, passing by Favignana this evening, her line honours position is commanding going into the second half the course. For the course record she needs to put on the afterburners down the western side of the racetrack. With the wind forecast to remain from the northwest for the next 18 hours and in excess of 20 knots, a beacon of hope remains. As we sign off, Leopard’s average boat speed is climbing steadily and now exceeds 20-knots. If Slade and crew can keep up that sort of momentum as relentlessly as Ken Read and George David did in 2007, Leopard‘s card hand will be looking better and better by the hour. Leopard‘s hardened racers will surely be hoping they have been dealt something special.

George David’s Rambler (USA) established the current Course Record of 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds in 2007. In order to better this time, the first yacht needs to be home by approximately 11.00 local time on Monday, 19 October.

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Ellen Macarthur

Ellen Macarthur

Ellen MacArthur Retires from Sailing to focus on environment

Dame Ellen MacArthur revealed on Sunday that she has retired from competitive sailing to focus on the environment.

Appearing on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4, Dame Ellen, who broke the record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2005, said a trip to the Atlantic island of South Georgia had made her aware of the challenges facing the planet.

At sea, every resource is precious and must be used carefully, she said – even something as commonplace as kitchen roll is eked out piece by piece – and this had given her a different view on the way mankind treats the environment. “I never thought that anything in my life could eclipse sailing, I didn’t think it was possible but after being in South Georgia, after learning these lessons I suppose, and the more I researched into it, the more frightened I got and that has really scared me to the point that I can’t go back to sea and go around the world again because this really matters.

“I still sail, I love sailing, I’ll still sail for pleasure, I sail for charity – the Ellen MacArthur Trust with kids with cancer, leukaemia, but as long as this challenge is there to be communicated, will I invest four years of my life to sailing round the world? No.

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istanbul-europa-race

Istanbul Europa Race

The first boat of the Istanbul Europa Race fleet have entered the Atlantic, leaving the Mediterranean in its wake. The sailing crews are now followed in the wake of leader Michel Desjoyeaux, who is leading the way towards Brest. Though all boats are making modest speeds, the passage of the Straits of Gibraltar has mixed up the competition on this third leg more than ever, particularly among the boats vying closest to take on the leader.

Veolia Environnement and Groupe Bel have been having quite a battle, which Paprec Virbac 2 is doing its utmost to join. Further back, the Spaniards aboard 1876 have been contending with a mast problem which has slowed them down, while the Mediterranean has yet to finish with the men of DCNS…

Fresh scenery, new charts but still the same routine aboard the IMOCA monohulls of the Istanbul Europa Race. In this third and last leg, from Barcelona to Brest, the wind continues to hold in the 15-20 knot range. As if to leave them with a good impression, the Mediterranean has allowed the crews to leave its clutches on a single tack, and with a daylight passage of the Straits of Gibraltar for the leaders.

The transition from one sea to another allows no respite for the crews however, and so as Cape St. Vincent appears before the current leader of the fleet, Michel Desjoyeaux, the weather situation is keeping the strategists working full-time. While they may be mourning the end of surfing along under spinnaker, now it is time to start preparing for an upwind trip along the coast of Portugal.

The name of the game is to play the shifts as well as possible – to keep the pace on at the front, while the pursuers chip away at the lead. Textbook Performance from Foncia Comfortably installed in the lead, the crew of Foncia are keeping untiringly to their rhythm, maintaining the pace and following the ideal routing minutely. With practiced ease, Mich’ and his team are making the most of their advantage, both physically and psychologically. Behind him though nobody is giving up yet, least of all Veolia Environnement, next in line.

Although their earlier-generation boat was at a disadvantage in the first two legs, marked as they were by light airs, Roland Jourdain’s crew have been on top form the last few days and their good humour has been a pleasure to witness.

Upwind, Bilou’s boat has lost nothing of its class. Groupe Bel and Paprec Virbac 2 remain determined not to let him escape, both Kito de Pavant and Jean-Pierre Dick focussed not only on catching the red and white boat in front, but keeping alive their hopes of regaining the front of the fleet as well. Aboard 1876 the mast has been giving trouble, but not so severe as to force Guillermo Altadill to throw in the towel. While giving nothing away on the extent of the damage, the Spanish crew remain in the race, and have managed to limit their losses at present to 80 miles from the leader.

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Rolex Fastnet 2009 by Carlo Borlengi

Rolex Fastnet 2009 by Carlo Borlengi

First Yacht to Finish Fastnet Race

Plymouth – The 100 foot  yacht ICAP Leopard crossed the Fastnet race finish line at the Plymouth breakwater at 01:09:36 (BST) after 2 days, 11 hours, 9 minutes and 36 seconds of sailing in relatively light conditions. The other yachts in the Fastnet fleet are now heading for the finish line as well. Looks like the sailboat Beau Geste will be the next to cross the Fastnet finish line. The boat RAN is sailing hard to make it in third, but the Open 60 sailboat BT is trying hard to beat them there.

ICAP Leopard wins line honors for the Rolex Fastnet race, and it is no surprise, since the boat holds the race record. But because of light winds at this year’s race, there is no record for the yacht this year. The crew was still happy with their performance.

As the boat RAN heads for the Fastnet race finish line, battling with the boat BT, they sent in this blog to the race committee: “Land o-hoy! – we have Lands Ends off Port Beam – we told you we’ll be back. For the last 4H we have been sailing side by side to the Open 60 BT. They are very fast downwind in the about 13-15 knots that we have had so they closed in on us across the Celtic Sea. Although they are racing their own race who would want to be passed by BT? – we won’t for sure! We have continuesly had a fresh breeze of about 12-16 knots now and we are doing 11-16 knots – you even know without looking at the instruments since Ran’s keel is humming at that speed (we love that sound) We have also got into some lovely tide which will be turning behind us. We just had some instant coffee which is one of the new things we have on Ran for this race – it’s been very welcome among the team despite the extra weight. Checking on our competitors we are doing well keeping Luna Rossa (who is what we are most worried about) behind us with about 30 miles on the rhumb line and Rosebud a few miles behind them. Beau Geste got into the new preassure and the tide before us so they have stepped away from us a bit, on corrected time we are well ahead of them however – So life is good on Ran for the moment apart from the stress that they may catch up. Next critical moment will be the tidal gate at The Lizards. Our plan is for that gate to slam shut after we have passed. Please Wind don’t die out on us again before Plymouth as you did before we reached Fastnet – our nerves can’t handle it.”

By Sailing the World

More news and photos from the Fastnet 2009: Fastnet Race Update – Sailing Round the Rock


More Sailing News

Tuesday 22.30 Ran: Land o-hoy! – we have Lands Ends off Port Beam – we told you we’ll be back. For the last 4H we have been sailing side by side to the Open 60 BT. They are very fast downwind in the about 13-15 knots that we have had so they closed in on us across the Celtic Sea. Although they are racing their own race who would want to be passed by BT? – we won’t for sure! We have continuesly had a fresh breeze of about 12-16 knots now and we are doing 11-16 knots – you even know without looking at the instruments since Ran’s keel is humming at that speed (we love that sound) We have also got into some lovely tide which will be turning behind us. We just had some instant coffee which is one of the new things we have on Ran for this race – it’s been very welcome among the team despite the extra weight ;-). Checking on our competitors we are doing well keeping Luna Rossa (who is what we are most worried about) behind us with about 30 miles on the rhumb line and Rosebud a few miles behind them. Beau Geste got into the new preassure and the tide before us so they have stepped away from us a bit, on corrected time we are well ahead of them however 🙂 – So life is good on Ran for the moment apart from the stress that they may catch up. Next critical moment will be the tidal gate at The Lizards. Our plan is for that gate to slam shut after we have passed 😉 Please Wind don’t die out on us again before Plymouth as you did before we reached Fastnet – our nerves can’t handle it.