Monday, 18 May 2009


by Roger Nilson (navigator)

Now at 0800 GMT 17 May, we are reaching with full main, Genoa 2 and staysail. It is a cold night, water temp 6.8 Celsius. Thankful that our newly installed heater is doing a great job!

We can see four boats to leeward as the earlier thick fog has decided to lift for a moment. The wind comes from South at 20 knots and we should be at the south west corner of Nova Scotia in three hours.

The start of this leg was great, we got to Deer Island in second place, close behind Telefónica Blue, after passing through the shallow North Cannel, north east of Castle Island. In thick fog we sailed, for a short time with only one meter of water under the keel.

The wind was more left than predicted, almost north east, which meant we could pass Deer Island on one tack from the Constitution mark. After Deer Island, we tacked north and got lifted, as the wind went east, to course for Cape Ann. At the position report 1900 we were in the lead!

A short joy as at 2015 GMT we found some water coming in around the keel and we promptly slowed down. After a good investigation and tightening the seal around the top of the keel box, we could continue at full speed. Unfortunately we lost our lead and in total about three nm. We could see Telefónica Blue and PUMA screaming by, very close in the fog as we dropped our speed. After two hours work from David Vera, we were racing full on again.

It looks like a long starboard reach towards the ice box, with lighter winds as we come east. It will be a tough fight for the scoring gate a bit west of the ice box.

We need to keep a sharp lookout on the radar screen as we have already been very close to some fishing boats. They suddenly appear on the radar screen but are well hidden in the fog. The fog is common here as warm southerly winds spread over the cold water. Probably the fog will stay until after Grand Banks where the water will be warmer due to the Gulf Stream.

After Grand Banks, where ice is spotted south of our limitation at 43 north, we need to negotiate a high pressure and the game will turn into more running than reaching. ETA Galway perhaps as late as 25-26 May.

All well onboard the Black boat this cold, foggy night...

Volvo Ocean Race

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