Friday, March 09, 2007

Celebrity Yacht Race - Trade Wind Sailing

Its great trade wind sailing out there on the first Monaco to Miami Celebrity Yacht Race. The wind is blowing steady, slightly to the North of East, and the boats are making good progress across the Atlantic.

Already they will be experiencing for themselves the relentlessness of an ocean crossing where the heading is west day after day after day. I remember the start of the Arc as the number of boats in sight dropped off day by day till we had the ocean all to ourselves.

It can be a scary feeling. As part of the Arc there was a safety briefing that included a demo of how to be picked up helicopter. Afterwards I asked the instructor what its range was. "500 miles", I was told, "return journey".

So after 250 NM there's no chance of a quick escape, and what remains of the fleet are now over 500 miles out there. They really are on their own.

And they are learning to sail these Open 60 beasts - or at least some of them are. In the last day we have seen signs that the Gallagher brothers on Definitely Will Be and Madonna / Kylie on Queen of Pop / Pop Princess have been checking their instruments. While the rest of the fleet are sailing nearly direct downwind these two are sailing 40 degrees off, which seems to be a smart move.

Ok they'll have to gybe a bit more but the the VMG is half a knot higher. Thats 12 NM a day, 96 a week.

The news from the official site is that the Madonna / Kylie have agreed on a single name for their boat. So its goodbye Queen of Pop / Pop Princess and hello to Re-invention, something both singers are well known for.

The other news is rather sketchy - talk of an "incident" on Definitely Will Be. If you remember the Oasis boys picked up Robbie and Jay Kay after their dismasting in a storm, and no doubt that's been one crowded boat. But there's rumour of a Ericsson style incident with a winch handle.

This can't be good. When there's bad news like this around, you know its time for our resident expert, BS.

More later.

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