Adrienne CAHALAN'S remarkable feat of spending eight weeks on a yacht with 11 men has definitely got to go down in the record books.
As much as she obviously wanted to spend as much time on board as possible with her hunky Cheyenne team mates during the recent Round the World Challenge, she was unable to stall her expert navigation skills sufficiently. She ended up plotting a course that took them just 58 days 9 hours 32 minutes 45 seconds to complete, breaking the world record by over five days! (See news story here.)
Commenting on what it's like to sail with a boat full of men Cahalan said, "It's great, particularly the Tropics when they get their shirts off. The Southern Ocean's not so much fun because they're all covered up. The thing that I really miss however, is the girlie gossip. Men just don't impart any juicy gossip. It's a different topic of conversation they don't talk about who's going out with who, like girls do, they go on deck and talk about things like the Volvo Ocean Race.
"Joking aside, I really enjoy their company and you get that extra bit of attention. They really look after you. I think they also love having a women on board too."
As far as the navigation is concerned Cahalan brought onto the boat her years of navigational skills and was able to put to immediate use the research from her thesis last year on Southern Ocean storm patterns. According to Cahalan, this is most difficult area to navigate.
"There is so much information available for the north Atlantic, there's nothing you don't know, it's modelled so well. When you get that far south you're on your own and there's a lot more guess work. I think that as the information improves so will the record."
Talking about her personal fears of sailing round the world she added, "The Southern Ocean is always a concern because you know you're down there by yourself. Having dropped the rig once already [aboard Maiden] I realise how remote it is. The general scary bits are the breakages and also the worry of hitting stuff, whales debris, bergs, you're always tip-toeing through a minefield and that's always on your mind, even on the last stretch to the finish line."
Having completed one of the world's greatest sailing achievements, Cahalan is unclear what's in store next. "Maybe the America's Cup but I don't know if I could handle the fitness side of things and getting up at 6am everyday to go to the gym; we'll see!"
Adrienne was a nominee for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2003.