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2 March 2004, 11:55 am
Latest Update From Cheyenne - And The Oscars
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© DPPI/Christophe Baudry

WSSRC Round The World Record
Round The World

With fresh winds picking up faster than expected Monday evening and overnight, Cheyenne and crew made only relatively small concession to the transition zone ridge of high pressure, and were reporting over 24 kts boat speed at Tuesday morning's report.
Steve FOSSETT and crew covered 406 miles on Day 24 of their Round The World record attempt, averaging 16.9 kts despite yesterday afternoon's light breeze - leaving them 1206 miles ahead of the 2002 track of Orange, a small gain of 19 nm since yesterday - and just 929 nm from their checkpoint at the longitude of Australia's Cape Leeuwin lighthouse (115 08.0E).

2003 ISAF Rolex World Sailor Of The Year nominee, navigator Adrienne CAHALAN (AUS), reported from the boat.

"We have settled down into a corridor of 50S now for this section of the Southern Ocean. 50S is the mean axis of the storm track and allows us to sail maximum east at the shortest longitudinal distance realistically possible. At 50S one degree of longitude is only about 38 miles whereas at 40S one degree of longitude is about 45 miles. So when we sail about 11-12 degrees of longitude each day being further south represents a net gain in distance of about 80 miles a day just by sailing at a lower longitude (the great circle route as opposed to rhumbline)".

Weather wise however, we are limited by how far south we can go as the centres of the low pressure systems tend to sit around a mean position of about latitude 60S (also known as the circumpolar trough). If we get on the south side of a low pressure system we are into head winds, which is disastrous. In the South Pacific Ocean we will sail at a little lower latitude at around 53-54S to stay in the centre of the storm track. We will also leave our approach to the Horn hich is at 56-57S, until the last minute if possible".

We have had a good trip through the South Indian Ocean so far. We were able to sit in NW winds that enabled us to sail directly east (or just east south east) right on course and the seas state has been moderate. Sea state is almost more important than wind speed in these boats. The Kerguelen Islands (50S, 70E) was a major obstacle in our way and we left our decision quite late as to which side of the islands we would go. We had seen some bergs the day before whch made the south side a little dicey. Ultimately we went to the north side for weather reasons - which was to set ourselves up for SW winds and give ourselves some north leverage when the SW winds came in just after the island but we did lose some time there".

Last night we were briefly caught in a ridge of high pressure. The wind swung abruptly from the SW into the NW (which meant we were now on the back side of the ridge) and has now filled in to about 18kts. You will see that our mileage today was not that great because we were sailing at about 10 kts for several hours while we negotiated the ridge".

The swell has picked up today for the first time. Those big southern ocean rollers are racking and stacking behind us, and it is quite a roller-coaster feeling when you take off from the top of one and the bows point down into the trough. Luckily we have helmsmen such as the great Spaniard Guillermo ALTADILL now pushing the boat along at 25+kts so we are in safe hands".

We have decided if they make a movie of the trip - and I have no doubt they will - namely a blockbuster featuring Kevin Costner- the Spaniard Altadill will of course be played by Antonio Banderas. Several other crew members have also been cast as follows:

David Scully - George Clooney
Steve Fossett - Anthony Hopkins
Brian Thompson - Jeff Goldblum
Damian Foxall - Colin Farrell
Jacques Vincent - Tom Cruise
Fraser Brown - Ron Howard
Justin Slattery - Russell Crowe
Mark Featherstone - some guy out of All Creatures Great and Small
Whirley Van Dyke - a young Clint Eastwood
Adrienne Cahalan - Renee Zellweger (definitely not Meryl Streep)
Nick Leggatt - Rhys Ifans
Moose Beasley - the US TV fix it guy

The only thing is that we cannot find a place for Kevin Costner - but maybe that is as Bruno Peyron, in which case Olivier de Kersuason is Gerard Depardieu or more appropriately Marlon Brando. Phelpsy has also got to be cast somewhere in there as well".

So anyway back to navigation report:

Our current forecast suggests that we should get east as fast as we can to stay ahead of an approaching cold front coming quickly behind us. If we can stay ahead of the front and stay on the 'money gybe' in NW winds it is all good miles in the bank. We call it the 'money gybe' when we cash in miles at top speed straight at the mark".

On Thursday, when the cold front is close to us, a low is forecast to form on the front which would put us in a area of light winds. However if we stay ahead of the front this will not be a problem although at this stage this may be an impossible task as the front is moving at about 30kts. On Thursday we should be at about 130E just below South Australia (just in time for the Melbourne Grand Prix)".

So as the barometer continues to drop we prepare for a couple of days of fast sailing in probably the roughest conditions yet. The next 2 days and into next weekend we may see 30-40kts which we can not escape by diving north so it will be important to keep it all together and the boat in one piece".

Very sorry to have missed Oscar night, but luckily I was able to wear my Prada gown in the nav station, the next best thing to being there."
Fossett Challenges (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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