Sprint Time!

Saturday 5 October 2013
CATEGORY: Expedition
TAGS: Sailing

Its down the coast of Brazil and with that also the opportunity to bag a
few more points. The Ocean Sprint – the fastest boat between the 5th and
10th degree of latitude south will get awarded another two points in the
Clipper Around the World Race 13-14.
For me that meant a few hours bunkering dow in the Nav station to calculate
the best possible course. Competitor analysis showed that Team Henry Lloyd
seemed to have logged the fastest time through the 300 miles of the sprint
with an average speed of 10.1kts, just about less than 30hours. Based on
the helming data Paolo and myself had collected over the last few days
(see last blog), we came up with 195degrees being our optimal course to
sail(not straight south as the boat sails better at a specific angle to the
wind). As a team we decided to stick to our method of rotating helmsmen
instead of specializing on our best ones, so that everybody could have a go
– staying true to our team spirit.
Things started well, the watches constantly logging speed over ground
figures of 10kts+. I got my chance at the helm at 3am in the morning and in
pitch darkness and with full concentration tried my best to squeeze every
inch of speed out of the boat. Gusty wind as well as the absence of
moonlight made it not the easiest – my stats coming in at 9.9kts VMG
(velocity made good, meaning the speed towards straight south) Never mind –
the team was in good spirit!
Our run shouldn’t last – during the late morning hours with the sun already
heating up the deck a few dark squall clouds crossed our way and soon we
were showered in rain and even worse, ended up in a few wind holes 🙁 That
put an end to our ambition to overtake Henry Lloyd, but in the end we still
passed the 10degree line in respectable 31hours and 51minutes. As Mission
Performance and Invest Africa still have to go through the Sprint we will
only learn in Rio how we did in comparison.
Its now 13 more degrees until Rio and none of the boat has yet reached
their target. At the front PSP, Jamaica and Qingdao are battling it out.
For us, Team Garmin, around 130miles ahead seems to be a bit out of reach
(unless they park up on their way). Key goal is to stay ahead of Mission
Performance, who is currently sailing a bit closer to shore around 30miles
behind us. Vicky outlined our main options in her briefing today (see
picture) with one last key strategic decision still to come up, as we are
due to cross a low pressure system just around Cabo Frio, 60 miles out of
Rio – we might even activate stealth mode (a race rule, that would mean our
position will not be communicated for 24hours) for it! For all the
followers on the Clipperrace viewer, don’t panic if Team Switzerland
disappears tomorrow.

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