Due to the unfortunate abandon of Marc Thiercelin on ‘Proform’, HELLOMOTO is going to be back in the Top Ten for 2005. Conrad is only 62 miles behind Ocean Planet and closing in fast…what a great start to the New Year!
Conrad & HELLOMOTO overnight passed the official halfway stage of the race as the theoretical distance is 23,700 miles. Only 11,677 miles to go…!
What a place to spend New Year too, and in the best company, as Conrad did chat with Ellen MacArthur when ‘B&Q’ rolled 20m underneath HELLOMOTO early this morning, both vessels sailing fast in stressful conditions.
HELLOMOTO is still screaming along at top speeds approaching the ice zone…Conrad talks about the stress of sailing ‘blind’ now as thick fog envelops the boat but power issues mean the radar has to be rationed as Conrad put his foot to the floor to get past the high pressure ridge…
Conrad Humphreys interview from onboard HELLOMOTO this morning courtesy of Geolink/Iridium:
“I’m flying along at 20 knots in very thick fog, so thick I can’t see the end of the bowsprit… The water temperature’s down to 4.5 degrees here and with it comes the fog because the NW wind is not as cold. I got into it first thing this morning, I’ve drifted a bit further North since and it cleared up a bit, the water temperature went up to 7.5 degrees and now it’s very, very thick, and so it’s pretty stressful as the wind angle is far forward and it’s fast, wet sailing. I’ve been in this for 12 hours already and there’s nothing I can do, I’ve put the radar on and put the rear-mounted camera back on the stern as it draws less power than the radar, but I really need the radar on full time now. I’m half relying on the fact that no ice has been seen in this area. It’s edgy… I had a brief chat with Ellen this morning, she was about 40m behind me and further south but I hear she has rolled underneath me. We were both charging batteries at the time so it was pretty noisy. It’s good to know each other’s positions given the conditions but I do feel for her going through this on a trimaran, at least I only have one hull…
“I’m edgy partly because this high pressure ridge has changed shape and instead of lying from the NW to the SE it lies now from NE to SW and it’s a bit of a race against time to get through. I want to pass north of Campbell Island and make my way back up to 50 degrees South. I need to average some high speeds to get through the ridge. It’s better for me than the boats to the north but it’s the agonising thing that if you hang in to the south you have to hang into the breeze. Having decided to pass north of Campbell Island and north of the ice it’s a race to get through this ridge and I’m sailing with my foot down pretty hard at the moment… Joe Seeten’s got headwinds and can’t tack to the North or he’ll run straight into the high pressure, he’s realised the only way through is to head south. In reality, though, he won’t lose anymore if he just sits where he is and has a 24hr kip and wait for the South Westerlies to move forward again! It’s the same with Bruce on Ocean Planet, he’s got 300 miles of calms to get through, whereas even if I cross the ridge at 52 South there is some gradient wind. The whole ridge is moving east and it’s real make or break as if you get on the other side of it you will get away in the South Westerlies, otherwise you could be parked up for a long time on the South East of New Zealand..
“Looking ahead I just want to get beyond this ice, that’s my major focus. By the 3rd or 4th January things will be back into a rhythm again but this period of transition is tricky, as you don’t sleep, you’re pushing the boat hard, I’m nervous about resting because you’re not making the right tactical decisions and you’re analysing the weather 3 or 4 times a day but I can’t really afford to with the power issues. It would be good to get through this transition and get moving again. Sailing a little bit blind is tense…
“I’m ready for New Year and had a full wash and scrub, change of clothing but I didn’t shave my beard! I’ve rummaged around and found the New Year Day Pack with a few gifts – in particular I got a ‘Whoopee’ cushion, I’m wondering who thought I’d need some extra wind power down here..?! I got mini bottles of Plymouth Gin and tonic water and a couple of party poppers, but if I fired off the bowsprit right now they’d disappear without me seeing where they went!
“Happy New Year to my team, my sponsor Motorola, everyone who has sent messages or been checking the web site, have a great time! Make sure you compile your list of things you want to do next year and tick them off! It will happen and Good Luck! I’m looking forward to 2005, to getting through this part of the race…it’s a pretty awesome place to be celebrating New Year, I didn’t expect to be 20 miles from Ellen, and I’ve got my bottle of bubbly to crack open as it’s New Year for me in a couple of hours. Maybe this fog will lift as I scream my way past Macquarie Island to the south of me and start climbing north towards Campbell Island.
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