Crew member on GBR958R Jangada

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The Tapas Bar at the Top of the Ridge

Rupert Holmes and Richard Palmer on JPK1010 Jangaga

Position: 25.24N 24.26W

True wind speed: 6.4 knots

True wind angle: 58 degrees

Boat speed: 5.1 knots

Air temperature: 27.4 Celcius

Weather: Sun

One of the joys of sailing long distances is that it gives time to slow

down and appreciate the joys of some the important essentials of life.

After five full-on days of racing in constantly changing conditions, and

often confused seas, that have demanded constant attention today has

brought a welcome change.

By breakfast time the wind had settled into a steady 6-7 knots from the

west-southwest, giving a much easier day in prospect as we head south on

starboard tack into the narrow ridge of high pressure that's separating

us from the tradewinds that will eventually push us the rest of the way

to the Caribbean.

After 30-40 minutes of tweaking sail and pilot settings we got the boat

set up to look after herself, with human intervention only needed to

keep a lookout and monitor course and speed. As I write we're hitting

more than 100 per cent of polars, even though neither of us has touched

the helm, or a piece of string, for more than four hours. As for other

traffic, it's 24 hours since we last had a target on the AIS and the

only other life we've actually seen is dolphins.

That's given time to sleep, to do a few small jobs around the boat, and

have a leisurely lunch: freshly-made hummous, Iberian cured ham, cheese,

pate de campagne, fresh vegetables and tasty Spanish olives, washed down

with a couple of cold beers - the first we've had since Friday last week.

Even if the normal fare when racing is easier to prepare, there's still

time to slow down when eating to savour the flavours of the different

ingredients. The same is true even for snacks, where a flapjack isn't

something to be rushed in a couple of bites, and a couple of slices of

dried mango make a great treat in the middle of a long night watch.

The normal routine on Jangada consists of muesli or porridge for

breakfast, wraps with chorizo or ham, cheese, iceberg lettuce fresh

pepper etc for lunch. Evening meals are invariably pre-packaged dinners

that can be boiled in the bag, using the Jetboil, with added rice or

noodles and veg. To keep energy levels constant through the day and

night we also have a huge variety of snacks, including fresh and dried

fruit, nuts, cereal bars, homemade cake and the aforementioned flapjacks.

Caption: Lunch in the Tapas Bar at the Top of the (high pressure) Ridge.

Crew member on GER7475 Lunatix

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Hey Ho from on board Lunatix,

Wind?! Anyone seen any? If so send some over please.. We are not asking for much but a little to keep our Lady moving and the crew in a good mood. The last 24h have been a moral test for anyone on board. Result: Everyone passed, at least so far.

On our way to the trade winds we have to go through a belt of very light winds, thats at least what we hoped for, it turned out to be even less than light. To be exact 0.0kn TWS for a good part of last night and only a very light breeze in the morning hours. The bright sunshine and hot conditions lead to a interesting debate if we would prefer cold weather and wind or stay here in the sunny no wind conditions. No result found here, well no need because we are not moving anyway.

Over the last hour a it looks like a bit of pressure has established and we are able to move again. The S2 is up and we are slowly sailing towards sunset, thats at least the right direction.

Biggest question of the day is: Whats coming up for diner? Rumors occurred that there is a good chance of noodles. (What a surprise, we had noodles for diner in different variations every night so far.) Buuut we figured out what turns all kind of noodles into a delicious meal al la Italia: Cheese, more cheese with a topping of even more cheese and chili powder. Terrible rumors came up that both will run out pretty soon. Which leaves us with the hope of wind, to reach Grenada and a restaurant without noodles!!! But maybe with Bar and some Rum attached..?

Crew member on GBR301 Challenger

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Hello from Challenger!

Some keener minds may have noticed that we have taken a somewhat different route compared to the rest of the fleet-choosing to head South rather than West after leaving the Canary Islands in a bid to A. Avoid a protracted period of beating, B. Avoid going straight into the forecast strong downwind conditions thereafter with a crew who were new to the boat C. Take a punt- why not.  Whilst our progress so far in the race might not have been meteoric I can say without a shadow of a doubt that so far we are really enjoying the trip  and the crew although new to Spartan have settled well into life at sea.

The past 48hrs have without a doubt been frustrating and I feel for those across the fleet who still have a similar experience ahead of them as they make their own passage across the snake of zero wind that is presently sunning it’s self across the mid Atlantic. Whilst of course as a crew we knew going in that the conditions would be very light south of 25N it is always still a surprise to me when even with such a decent power to weight ration, new code zero and a lot of crew focus the boat finally inevitably grinds to a stop.

It's bizarre that even after so many miles at sea my initial instinct is still that somehow the boat should always keep moving whatever the blue/purple hue forecast on PredictWind. When that foundational block of 'quantifiable progress' is removed and the bus parks it’s self it always takes me a good few hours to shake off the stress of immobility and start to appreciate the beauty of my new surroundings.

For those who have never been in such a situation offshore surrounded by absolutely flat glassy sea, may I share with you one experience from the other night.

Just around sunset the entire sky became filled with vivid shades of lilac and pink but in such a manner that the boundary between the sea and the sky became uniquely obscured . The resulting effect of the sea reflecting sky and the sky seemingly reflecting the sea was that everything merged into one homogenous, beautifully coloured sphere within which we floated. It was quite beautiful and yet strangely unsettling as it left the observer with a feeling of total disconnectedness to not only the world outside but even such simple seagoing securities as the horizon, clouds and stars.

It’s a race yes but wow there is more to it than that. We intend to get our money’s worth.

All's well on Spartan Challenger.

Crew member on ITA15111 Hatha Maris (2)

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Hatha Maris


It's already been a few days since we left Lanzarote, and we decided,

together with just a handful of other boats, to head south and aim to catch

the trade winds sooner.

So far our choice is not paying off, as the lull is extending way south of

Tenerife and we are very slowly progressing S / SW. The quiet winds did not

prevent us from getting a bit of excitement when a squall hit us and we saw

a number of 'baby waterspouts' starting to form, which luckily did not

touch the water. We even managed to take a few good pictures.

Otherwise all is good on board Hatha Maris, enjoying the supply of fresh

fruit and veggies until they last, and the crew has slipped into the daily

watch routine and the only thing that is missing is some good wind to take

us west!

Hatha Maris

Crew member on GER7475 Lunatix

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Regards from the Lunatix Upwind sailors!

The race continues to be spectaculary unspectacular with long beat upwind sailing in very comfortable conditions. Since maneuvers are limited to a minimum the crew keeps itself busy with routing (way more spectacular than the sailing so far!), fine-tuning of the boat and keeping the focus up: The pantry comes up with ever new sandwich combinations at noon and pasta creations at sunset in order to keep the spirit up. But these sorts of measures are not half as motivating as the promise to somewhen set a downwind sail again. Bets are taken when this will be the case, though some argue that downwind sailing can be seen as an "urban legend" and not being existent- so maybe we just sail upwind all the way up to Grenada? That may limit the variations of our sandwiches at one point...

That being said, rumours are circulating that some guys on the fast boats may have been a bit to positive when booking their plane tickets from Grenada: The Lunatix travel store advises a rescheduling of all flights to the 14th earliest in order to secure enough time for a proper reception in Grenada- a screenshot of the current wind conditions should count as valid argument to any boss or wife there may needs to be convinced...

to be continued....


Crew Member on GER5676 Outsider

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Day 4 on Outsider. Everyone on Board is in good spirits. While the early part of the race quickly brought some testing conditions with many sail changes and good speeds, everything now has calmed down. We are currently going upwind in flat water. We enjoy the Stars and the moon at night and work hard every minute to keep the boat going fast. The question remains: how much more upwind must be done until we find the Tradewinds? Todays talk aboard has been about 3 Things we want for such a trip: Tabasco/Toiletpaper/salted almonds versus 3 things you don't need: coins in your pocket for Cigarettes, a Return Ticket booked for the 6.12. and someone repeatedly humming that annoying Soundtrack from Starwars.

Cheers from the pocket Rocketship Outsider

Crew Member on GER6300 Haspa Hamburg

on . Posted in Blogs

The race tracker is fascinating as some teams have already tacked and are now heading to south, others seem to hesitate to that move. We are sailing upwind since 36 hours now and trying to figure out when time has come for us tactically to go straight.

In the starlit nights single Squalls eventually come through forcing us to reef and keeping us focussed. The spirit on board is pretty good, but we are all hoping for a sudden wind shift to run downwind into the Caribbean under “Genni” like it was our plan to.

Crew member on GBR958R Jangada

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After a start in only two knots of wind, we had a glorious first night, surfing at up to 15 knots in gusts of 27 knots towards a waypoint 50 miles north of Tenerife - sufficently far north, we hoped, to avoid the island's wind shadow. We were wrong and spent the next day slopping around in a confused cross swell that continously knocked what little wind there was out of the sails. The only consolation is that we were not alone - the Swan 56 Latona was always within a few miles, often within sight, even though she rates 25 per cent higher.

Once out into clear wind we started with a tight Code Zero reach which quickly turned into a port tack beat. The way south to the trade winds is blocked by a near impenetrable ridge of high pressure, so the only option is to make the most of the wind shifts around a succession of low pressure systems, with our track "gull winging" in and out of each system. Initially it had looked as though there would only be two of these to negotiate, but it now looks as though there won't be a route south until we've passed four low pressures and will finally have northwinds in which we can reach or run down to the Caribbean.

A few boats, including the 100ft super maxi CQS have tried to break away to the south, so far without success. And the succession of lows are predicted to force the tradewinds south of the latitude of the Caribbean, so going south looks like a slow and risky strategy. More than 1,000 miles upwind is definitely not what was in the brochure, but it's still lovely out here - the ocean's a great place and apart from a couple of short, sharp showers, it's bright, warm and sunny. It would just be even better if we had 15-20 knots from behind. For us, as the smallest and lowest rated boat in the fleet, the only potential compensation is that there are some wind holes in the route that may slow the bigger boats ahead of us, but it's a lottery as to who it's going to favour.

Rupert Holmes and Richard Palmer on JPK 1010 Jangada

Crew member on GER7475 Lunatix

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Day 3

Good afternoon from onboard Lunatix,

First of all, we are all well and everything on board is fine.

Last night started with a bumpy ride along the south side of La Palma, we choose this track after a tiring low pressure zone on the north side of Teneriffa. The plan was to avoid a another mountain made no wind zone. It seem like not many of our competitors choose this track but made their way along the north of La Palma with good speed.

With windspeed of up to 25kn the first half of the night it was quiet intense for the guys on deck and included several times reefing manoveours given to acceleration patches followed by lighter zones.

In the moment we have beautiful upwind sailing conditions with 15kn of windspeed and almost no clouds. Nevertheless this weather patch is not really what you woulexpect from a Atlantic crossing towards the West. But with the nice conditions mentioned, the navigator has no problem to explain to the crew, the upwind sailing may last for a bit longer...

After the intense after start hours and the island hopping style of sailing within the first days, the much cited routine is definitely building onboard Lunatix as well: Questions like "which day is today" as well as the honor our chef Jochen received for smuggling tasty Pasta sauce through the weight check are just some symptoms for that. We look forward to the next days of racing, be it upwind or in the nice downwind conditions which were promised and which we have a slight preference for ;)

The only remaining questions to be decided is the one for the actual day. Though various sources claim we have only been on the water for 48 hours, watch routine and the smell under deck suggest it may have been for a week or longer...

to be continued...


Crew member on ITA15111 Hatha Maris

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First 24h


After an early morning wake up and getting last few things done we finally sailed to the start line, ye-haaa off we are. Weather forecast for the start: big swell and 20kts of wind. Reality: It took us and the rest of the fleet forever to cross the start line and keep the boats moving - 5kts wind and of course from the wrong direction. It was quite a challenge for our skipper Lyssandra to keep the boat moving and at the same time stay away from the others and avoid a collision.

Finally we got a little breeze and gybed our way down the coast of Lanzarote. Everybody had to fight to move the boats either with Spinnakers up or not. We were flying our Gennaker for the first time, till it got dark and everybody did a great job. Classical situation, the wind picks up as soon as the night sets in. We had good 20kts and quite a big swell. Great sailing! Nicole, is at her first bluewater experience and she was so fascinated from all the fluorescent plankton, not only in the wake of the boat, but also when you flush the toilets!!!

Nicole and I are in the same shift. And swisslies like to have a nice breakfast. She this morning she cut some fresh fruits and prepared a nice muesli. Unfortunately we had strong wind and 4m swell from the side. ooooooooh and ups. Yes! As you know bowls with food do not stay at their place on a boat unless you hold them. Fruit salad on the floor :-0 

I started with a forecast story and i will end with another one. All the forecasts said there would be a big wind-hole north of Tenerife (due to the southerly wind). hahahha. We had to put 2 reefs in 25kts of wind and 30 degree heel. I Like this kind of wind-holes, smile. Now we passed Tenerife and are heading south.

Nice healthy fresh salad made by skipper on deck all together and sailing into the sunset.

Everybody is getting used to be on the boat and to the watch system.

Oooh now I have to go, have to cook dinner tonight -

Thalita and Hatha Maris Crew.