RACING FALCON STYLE
Thought for the Day: “If CON is the opposite of PRO, what is the opposite of Progress?”
We are still going strong. As my watch neared its end yesterday evening I was still marvelling at how smooth the sea was so many days into the Atlantic. Not even the customary long Atlantic swell. A comfortable cruise to say the least. Yesterday was indeed an exciting day with our team at the top keeping our course and direction optimised and us gaining on Phaedo all the time.
That was yesterday. Despite comfortable bunks, a pile of pillows and climate control it was a horrible sleep off watch, but that boded well for us, or translates into the seas have picked up and that means the winds have picked up. When the bird crosses the 14kt speed line she takes on a new tune as the water goes barrelling down her side, particularly at the stern around our barn door semi balanced rudder. She makes a deep throaty growl. It makes us smile a broad smile.
I start watch as usual down in my engine room where I receive my handover from Richard, but I am anxious to head to the bridge and see how we’re going. He will tell me the same news as every day. Changed generator, topped off day tank. Pumped main mast bilge port side, pressed or dumped ballast. Done. Bound to the bridge. A sloppy sea meets my view with that ever present wall of fog.
“We made 19.8 kts.” says Graham from behind the helm with a grin from ear to ear. Just to clarify, the helm for us consists of a small grey dial easily missed.
“And where is Phaedo?”
“To port of us around 8 to 10 miles away.” Pipes up Matteo who is a tracker addict.
“Bit of a worry in this fog as the radars are not picking them up but the tracker tells us they are there.” chips in Doug.
An hour later and we have them on radar. Directly abeam of us port side, 10NM off. At times it seemed we were out classed by our Nemisis who were so far ahead of us, but after, at times, being around 100NM behind her, to have her so close puts the thrill back into the race.
The saying goes, “it isn’t over until the fat lady sings”, and in this race we are the fattest lady of them all.
Rambler 100 is bearing down on our position with a vengeance. One hopes, if they pass us close enough, the fog will lift long enough to capture them on camera and witness an impressive spectacle, a sailing machine in action.
While the Cat and the Bird poke subtle challenges at each other and we remain inspired by the sheer performance of the greyhounds, it has been quite a race so far with the fleet all so grouped together still.
Our competitors will be sailing in race mode, whittling down their weight and taking the the necessities in favour of a lighter boat. So we thought we would show you what racing on the falcon is like...