Day 5 - Cat and Mouse across the Atlantic

on . Posted in 2015 Race Updates

2015-rtr-brianthompson-helming-phaedo3- photo Phaedo3Brian Thompson at the helm of Phaedo3 as they pass the Cape Verde Islands - photo Phaedo3

On the morning of day five of the RORC Transatlantic Race, the boats that escaped the high-pressure ridge first have made significant gains, most notably Jean-Paul Riviere and the crew of Nomad IV. Yesterday the smallest boat in IRC was wearing the crown. Nunatak was working her way just south of the rhumb line and making good progress in the light winds, benefiting from minimising the mileage required to the finish. However this morning, we see the largest boat in the race, Nomad IV stretching her legs as the first boat to reach the established trade winds in the south.

thumb 2015-rtr-chrisfrost-up-mast-photo-elinhafdaviesYesterday we heard from the intrepid duo on J/120, Nunatak, apparently not aware of their position in the race, have been concentrating on sightings of dolphins and contending with smelly deck shoes! Today is a significant day for Elin Haf Davies as eight years ago, she was rowing across the Atlantic from La Gomera to Antigua, a journey that took 77 days!

“We only have one major problem to deal with - my deck shoes,” says Atlantic rower and adventurer, Elin Haf Davies in her blog from the boat. “They smell so bad that Frosty (Chris) was so desperate to get away from the smell that he went up the rig, making an excuse that the spreaders needed to have padding on them to stop them from putting holes in our kites!”

“Yesterday we got caught in a wind hole which made me worry that this crossing was also going to take 77 days,” exclaimed Elin. “That would have been a major issues given that we’ve only packed enough food for 21 days (assuming we can stomach eating the dog food/meatballs). Luckily the wind picked up again last night and with the help of our Code 0, and then our A2, we’re now on the move again.” Read the full blog from Nunatak HERE

Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70, Phaedo3 has 1,139 miles to the Port Louis finish and is enjoying a cat and mouse duel with Tony Lawson’s Concise10 (Ms Barbados). There’s just 30 miles between the mighty trimarans as they power along notching up the Atlantic Ocean miles with speeds of over 28 knots:

Brian Thompson, Skipper of Phaedo3 explains what it’s like on board:

“It’s pretty incredible sailing here, two MOD 70 trimarans tearing across the Atlantic Ocean at 30 knots, spray flying everywhere and long streaks of white wake shooting off our transoms. It’s Master and Commander stuff across the high seas - playing cat and mouse with each other, dodging and fencing as we zigzag downwind. Not to fire cannons and capture each other, but to be the first in to Grenada and to have beers ready for the second boat to the finish!”

At the end of day four, Thompson reported: “Conditions are great with 19-23 knots of wind, puffy tradewind cumulus clouds, 2m waves which we are punching through at 30 knots. When we first got into these conditions when we gybed at Mindelo in the Cape Verdes, it was pretty full on. There was spray everywhere on deck and it was hard to even stand up down below and impossible to sleep. But we adapt, and now this is the new normal. Water shrieking off the propeller leg, boat jumping around as we bounce from wave to wave, and now we are sleeping fine in our off watch until it’s time to go on watch again or we gybe. We had better be used to it as this is just what we are going to have for the next 1500 miles, which is a little less than 3 days.”

Read the full blog from day 4 on board Phaedo3 HERE

In stark contrast, 1,000 nautical miles north, Gerald Bibot and Michel Kienjans on board Zed 6 are needing their thermals on the edge of a low pressure system, bringing cold northerly winds and rain down on top of them. Phaedo3 and Concise10 (Ms Barbados) are predicted to finish the race in a couple of days; however they will have to wait and see if the incredible gamble by Gerald and Michel pays off and they amazingly come out ahead on corrected time when they reach Grenada.

The Class40 duel is right back on. Gonzalo Botin on Tales II - following her 12-hour pit stop to repair a damaged rudder - have sailed incredibly hard to get back in touch with Mike Gascoyne’s, Silvi Belle II. This morning Tales II is just 10 miles to the east of Silvi Belle II, who still has the slight advantage on track, but must be really feeling the heat. Both boats are back up to speed after a slow and frustrating day yesterday on the edge of a very light patch of wind. The cat and mouse duel now moves into the conditions both boats where built for, downwind ocean racing for the next 2,000 miles.