EXERCISE TRANSGLOBE NEWS UPDATE #17
Issued: 24 February 2010
Media Enquiries: Peta Stuart-Hunt | Press Officer
T: 01590 679621 or M: 07711 477707
TRANSGLOBE: Adventure (RN) is racking up the miles leading the dash to the ‘Horn’
It’s Leg 8 and the longest of the entire year-long expedition at 6,300 nm from Auckland to Montevideo, Uruguay. The knock-on effect of the Army yacht Challenger‘s recent mast track problems within days of leaving NZ and being forced to turn back for the repair job in Wellington means that the Army are going to be around two weeks behind the other two boats into Montevideo. Remember that this Expedition is actually a Training Exercise not a full-blown out and out 12-month race between the services but this delay will almost certainly mean that the Army boat won’t be in the right place at the right time to compete in Antigua Race Week in mid-April. The Sydney-Hobart in December/January and Antigua Race Week are the only two bona fide racing legs that have been built into the 13-stage programme.
Meanwhile, the Project Team back in Gosport, Hampshire, is working overtime to try and ensure that, logistically, everything still runs as smoothly as possible for everyone concerned but flights have had to be changed and crew members notified of major delays etc etc.
We will continue to keep everyone posted as and when we have more detailed information on how things are likely to pan out. Meanwhile the latest positions are below and there’s some great blogging and shout-outs from the RN and RAF crews on the website at: http://www.exercisetransglobe.com – and there are excerpts from Adventure and Discoverer below the positions as a taster…enjoy!
23th Feb 2010
lat 50.652222 S lng 109.817778 W (Decimal)
23th Feb 2010
lat 50.5833332 S lng 114.968611 W (Decimal)
Challenger catching up with the fleet
23th Feb 2010
lat 45.783333 S lng 169.35 W (Decimal)
ADVENTURE (ROYAL NAVY) BLOG
No ice and no penguins so far but lots of albatross down at 51 Lat where variation is 30 degrees East (difference between magnetic course and true course).
RACE & SAILING SITUATION REPORT
Thursday 18th Feb – brought us constant winds and we were able to pole out the yankee (front sail), changing up from the No 2 (mid size) to No 1(largest) Yankee at midday. Occasionally switching to a broad reach (wind from the side of the boat) to gain boat speed on the on the wind shifts and maintain our course to our next waypoint (fixed target position) figure at 51 degrees South 105 degrees West. This is when we will be permitted to head further south to start our decent to the Horn. The descent will be performed through a series of downward steps which have been preset by the Exercise Transglobe Sailing Instructions. The steps are simply lat and long positions from which we can descend. There are three steps roughly 400-500 miles apart. The first one is currently just over 1000 miles away and we should be there on about the 24th February and from thereon we are allowed to go as far south as 54 degrees. Whether we choose to or not depends mainly on the weather but obviously the further south we go the shorter the route to the Horn will be as you are able to take advantage of the curvature of the earth.
Over the last six days we have done over 200 miles a day with the highest being 234 miles, averaging 10 knots. Disco now sit behind us by 20 miles after coming down to the same latitude to avoid lighter winds to the north and it appears that keeping south has paid off for us, at least for the moment!:) This is the biggest lead we have had over them so far on this 2700 miles journey. ..but it’s still very close.
Today Disco sits 25 miles behind us, although we have both had our share of things to repair. For us the second batten (semi flexible strip giving the main sail its wing like shape) lost a screw from the luff box, forcing the batten to make another appearance out the front of the sail. It was put back in the slider with the aid of Blue watch with mother (Red) assisting. Mind you, this is this is forth repair we have done to the battens/luff boxes and apart from getting annoyed at having to depower the main for repairs, we’re getting pretty slick at it! Meanwhile Disco had a spinnaker wrap (big kite sail tangled around the rigging) plus a batten problem – all of which helped maintain the status quo.
Two weeks at sea and we are all still holding up or just about. A few aching muscles and wrists from repeated helming has meant a slight and temporary change to watch manning to help ease the load and give some a rest. White Watch are currently at the controls up top as the sun is starting to set over a single reefed main and No2 Yankee. On goes the tri colour and the compass light. The spray and swell is rising and the wind has just picked up to 25 knots so boat speed is on the climb, White Watch have worked their magic again. This falls in line with the met forecast as we are expecting a good blow of 40 knots tonight – with the prospect of more sail changes. Tonight is chilli con carne night with bread and butter pudding (Frankie stars again!) and so Red Watch are hard at it this Saturday evening to prepare the restaurant for its 14 punters. Normally it’s a table of 7 for two sittings with portions monitored carefully by the Stazi (the Pusser). Besides being on standby for sail changes and other sailing evolutions, the other duties of Mother Watch include cleaning the heads, showers, empty the bilges and bins and cut the non bio plastic waste up into 10L bottles. Every cloud has a silver lining however and, subject to sail change help being required during the night, the Mother Watch will normally get the first “all night in” (in their bunks) that they’ve had for two nights. Currently the generator is on and with the drying heaters still not working, the door to the foulies wet locker room is opened and closed quickly to give some chance to dry of the sodden foul weather kit that hangs within.
This last day or so, crew have started to talk about what will be the first thing they will do when they get home, the four top things they are looking forward to most seem to be a big comfy bed and seeing loved ones, followed by a cold beer and a pee standing up! (stand fast Nikki, Lou, and Laura ) We currently have just over 2000 miles to go to the rounding of the magical Cape Horn. It will then be another 1500 to Montevideo (and three of the above)!
THE RAF BLOG
Fri 19 Feb. We awoke to much banging, clattering and then whooping and roaring – and that was just the skipper! Yes, the spinnaker had finally made an appearance and there it was flying high, resplendent in all of its glory for about 2 hours. It’s amazing how such an idyllic picture can turn to a pile of guano in a few seconds – within 30 seconds. Yes, just 30 seconds of Blue Watch taking over, the spinnaker was wrapped around the forestay in a manner described by the skipper as the worst he has seen in his 30 years of sailing. Nothing else for it, our intrepid Doctor Nick climbed the mast and started the long and arduous process of unwrapping the ‘kite’ and it soon became apparent that the offending article was a halyard that had been inadvertently left attached to the headsail; Blue Watch were off the hook! Nick spent an hour and a half being battered at the top of the mast, but managed to escape relatively unscathed and had managed to free the top half. The bottom half was, however, wrapped tighter than Lily Allen in rehab. With half the spinnaker still flying, Jason was sent up the forestay to try to ‘snuff’ the kite – the kite ‘snuffed’ Jason at times, but he managed to tie it down and we finally managed to untangle the spinnaker after nearly 5 hours. Remarkably, there was no damage to yacht, kite or crew – the spinnaker has now been hidden from the skipper in case he thinks about flying it again!
Sat 20 Feb. Surprisingly, we lost only a few miles to the Navy yesterday and we are now about 20 miles behind with 2000 miles to go to the Horn. The sailing is fantastic with Force 5-7 winds (17-33kts) and Disco is eating up the miles in glorious sunshine today. Early this morning the skipper had a screw loose….. on one of the mainsail track sliders and spent a couple of hours with white watch trying to wrestle the sail in high winds, straddling the boom with Alex hanging off the mast to fix it back in place; he is now walking like an Argentinean Gaucho who has just delivered the cattle into town. Overall, Disco is in great shape – which is more than can be said for those participating in the dubious looking beard growing competition.
Sun 21 Feb. Again we awoke to banging and clattering, but thankfully the spinnaker was not making a re-appearance. Our resident ‘sparks’ Alex was trying to fix the instruments that supply our wind, speed and mileage data. The skipper and Alex spent most of the day pulling off every panel to try to identify where the wires ran and their persistence paid dividends when the offending loose connection was eventually found and our instruments restored. Meanwhile at the helm, Mikey B, who is looking more like Lee Marvin every day and sporting a new haircut, managed a voyage record speed of 16.2kts surfing down a wave. Doc Jo received several plaudits for the quality of her muffins and later went on to cook a delicious Thai beef and noodles; we really are eating fantastically well! With about 1800 miles to run to the Horn and with progress like the 230 miles logged yesterday, we should round the Horn somewhere around 1-2 Mar. We need to drop down to around 56 deg south which, from our present position, means a difference in latitude roughly the same as between Bristol and Edinburgh. So far, the screaming 50s have been kind to us and hopefully the good weather and winds will continue. All is well from ship and crew aboard the good yacht Disco and minds are starting to turn towards what our first run ashore will entail in Uruguay.
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