500 miles SW of Dakar: Having covered 467 nm (avg speed 19.45 kts) over the previous 24 hours, Steve FOSSETT and crew aboard the 125' catamaran Cheyenne passed just west of the Cape Verde Islands yesterday morning.
And were continuing to march S/SE towards the equator throughout the day Friday - assuming they were being chased by great rival Olivier de Kersauson in the 110' trimaran Geronimo, based on latest received (12 Feb pm) position reports from the French tri.
Until this afternoon that is, when Geronimo announced on their website they had blown out a second gennaker and were returning to Brest for sail repairs and a restart.
Cheyenne's crew are also keeping an eye on their progress vs the fast-starting 2002 record track of Orange. Having fallen over 600 miles behind this track after the first 5 days, Steve FOSSETT and crew had gained back over 90 nm by 0510 this morning, leaving them a 523 nm deficit. Still more work to do here obviously, but progress is being made.
Skipper Steve FOSSETT:
" We are doing very well. We admittedly didn't take the best decision on the start, but the crew is sailing the boat very well, with no significant sailing errors. Plus we have had very limited equipment problems so far, apart from pulling the head off the blast reacher. That sail is now repaired and we are using it without restriction."
Watch captain Brian THOMPSON describes Day 6 (Thursday, 12 Feb):
"All great here - we are just passing the Cape Verde Islands as I write this, having had a good day's run of 480 miles down the track and 509 through the water. We have had the big gennaker up most of the time although both mornings we have gone to the smaller blast reacher as it has been unusually windy at that time.
We had to do one more piece of work to the blast reacher yesterday, the leech line broke and we had to drop the sail to the deck, fish out the broken piece and attach a new one. After we re-hoisted it Justin had to go up the sheet to the clew of the sail and do the final adjustment. On this sail the clew is about 15m in the air so he had his hands full hanging on as the boat pitched and yawed in the waves.
I was about to write how few flying fish we had seen - on The Race in 2001 we had hundreds an hour launching themselves at the side of the boat. Then in the space of a minute Nick got hit on the shoulder, one hit me on the back and ricocheted into Mark - and then at the same moment another coming cunningly out of the dawn hit Dave full in the face. He was driving at the time and, as he needed to look where he was going whilst the rest of us dove for cover behind the parapet, he called for a helmet.
Could be flak jackets later... - Brian"