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Hands are shot

Distance ahead: 569 miles
Time ahead: 2 day 8 hours [representing 29.92% of time remaining] calculated using the time it took for Joyon to get to the same Distance to Finish as Ellen’s current position

OMEGA: Official timekeeper for Ellen MacArthur

Lat/Long: 21 19N / 031 54 W (849 miles SW of the Canary Islands)
Average Boat speed: 14.2 knots (N)
True Wind speed: 16.1 knots (ESE)
Sea temperature: 23.4 degrees C
Distance sailed so far: 25,017 miles at an average speed of 16.2 knots
(data communicated by Thrane MiniC via BT Business Broadband)


* Not enough sleep, hands that are falling apart – this all part of Ellen’s 24/7 life on board <>. Sailing with two reefs in the mainsail – her concerns lie with the damaged mainsail track on the mast and, as usual, the weather scenario developing ahead.


How was last night?
Conditions were presumed to be stable and yesterday afternoon I put the first reef in again, even though I wasnít sure what was going to happen to the weather it seemed the right thing to do at the time. So I sat with a decreasing breeze with the reef in and I was thinking all the time, shall I pull it out, maybe not, it was the middle of the night and I just wanted to be sure. And then I tried to get some sleep and the breeze died to average 16 knots, then it started raining and the breeze died to 7 knots and the forescast was for it to be in the high teens maybe twenties, then it was punching up to 21, 22 knots. Then all of a sudden a second set of cloud came over and the breeze came up to 25, gusting 26 knots, and it averaged that for about six hours. Itís just slowly died down and itís gusting 22-23, so it was pretty unexpected and pretty brutal in the night, to be honest.

What sail configuration do you have now?
Iíve got 2 reefs in [the main], I had to put two reefs in with that amount of breeze, and the Solent. Iíve only had two hours max of sleep since yesterday morning so Iím pretty tired.

What are the general conditions onboard like?
The motion is **** in the boat. Because weíre now going to start heading into the Trade Winds, heading east of north, so the swell form the Trade Winds are right on our nose. We donít have an option weíve just got to go with it so, here we go.

Can you talk more about this high pressure system?
I donít know whatís going to happen with the high… Iím sitting here and every single report thatís coming in its moving – the four different models this morning, all say different things. The only thing I hope really doesnít happen is that we end up finishing with 35 knots upwind and, to be honest, I think thatís the most likely scenario. Iím not trying to be negative, itís going to be really, really bad at the end if thatís what happened. It will be ‘boat-breaking’ scenario.

How are you generally?
My hands are so hard and so tight and so rotten…they look quite disgusting! There is white rot underneath all my fingernails, I can chew bits of the skin off without feeling a thing, itís that hard and that knackered. Not very beautiful. Weíre getting a bit closer everyday, bit by bit, as long as the wind keeps blowing weíll make it home one way or the other, as long as we donít do anything stupid.

How are sailing at the moment, are you happy with the condition of the boat?
Iím sailing with a second reef in at the moment but Iíve got the headboard car right at the top of the box and I think itís probably okay. I canít really hear any weird noises, I was pulling the reef in and I thought ‘whatís the worst scenario’, and I thought if we do lose the crayons again and the track is ripped off or damaged again, the best place that could happen is at the top of the second reef not the bottom of the second reef. So thatís why Iíve pushed the car to the top – Iíve put it above all the damage – to be honest, itís very close to the reinforcement. If it screws itself again and if it rips off, at least we can get back to two reefs which is not an insignificant amount of sail.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 31st, 2005 at 1:05 pm and is filed under Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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