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26 February 2005, 11:55 am
Doha 2006 Crosses International Date Line
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Oryx Quest

Doha 2006 has gone from being a day ahead, to a day behind, as they crossed the International Date Line, going from Saturday morning, back to Friday morning. At precisely 00:52 GMT this morning, 26 February, the instruments on board started to record a west longitude.
The boat was sailing at 26.8 knots and the team had further extended their lead on Cheyenne to over 700 miles. They are now well into the South Pacific and ready to take on the second part of the Southern Ocean after a few days of quiet sailing.

'We are poised to tear down the southern expressway tomorrow,' wrote skipper Brian THOMPSON in his daily log. 'We have moved ourselves just behind a high-pressure system and are waiting for it to move away to let the stronger northerly winds come in and push us eastwards. At the moment we are like an impatient driver waiting for the traffic to clear. The high is not moving fast enough and we have to wait our turn to accelerate. It's taken a couple of days of light air sailing to get in behind this high and be at the correct latitude for the upcoming ice areas. It's been quite a change from the previous few windy days and we have had to drag up some of the sails that we had carefully packed below, expecting that they would not be used till after Cape Horn. However it looks like we can get some good distance down the course with this system.' During the day on Friday Doha 2006 sailed under New Zealand causing great excitement for the three Kiwi's on board. In a satellite phone call Sharon FERRIS described her feelings. 'It's really great to be so close to home,' she said. 'Even though it's a little sad to be sailing away from New Zealand. At least we are having fun. Fraser (BROWN), Andy (MEICKLEJOHN) and I pulled out the Kiwi flag and waved it around just happy to know that our families were not too far away.' While the boat was sailing well south of the New Zealand mainland, they were able to see some actual New Zealand real estate. The boat passed just to the north of Campbell Island, an unpopulated 8-mile long island that is the world capital of the Royal Albatross population. Sharon filmed some of the albatross that were arcing around the boat while the rest of the crew stared at the green land, the first they had seen since sighting an island in the northern part of the Indian Ocean.

On board Cheyenne they are about to see land as well. At the 06:00 GMT poll on Saturday morning Cheyenne was 72 miles west of the Auckland Islands, a remote archipelago that is home to the most Wandering and Shy albatrosses in the world. The Auckland Islands are comprised of five islands; Auckland, Enderby, Rose, Disappointment and Adams. They are volcanic with Mount Dick, which rises up to 705 metres, the highest point. If Dave Scully and his crew are lucky they might even get to see a rare breed of pigs that call the island home. They were first introduced onto the islands in 1807 as a source of food for whalers and shipwrecked sailors. Pigs being pigs, they thrived and now populate the island. If Cheyenne remains on their present course they should pass close to land later in the day on Saturday.

At the same 06:00 poll Tony BULLIMORE and his team on Daedalus were precisely 400 miles astern of Cheyenne enjoying better conditions. Cheyenne was sailing at 6.2 knots; Daedalus three times faster at 18.1 knots. On board Daedalus the crew were preparing the boat for a second run through the Southern Ocean. 'We know that some heavy weather is coming our way and before the day is out, we will be running in high winds and big seas, well battened down,' Tony wrote. 'At the moment, Nick BUBB is changing the broken battens in the mainsail. Although the No.1, 2, 3 and 5 battens are broken, we are only changing the No.1 and No.5 battens, and taking out the No. 2 and 3, to allow Nick to repair them, and then we will refit them.' After three weeks at sea Tony's mind was drifting to thoughts of land. 'I have had a shave and a real clean up, and now feel like a million dollars,' his log continued. 'Goncalo is off watch and is having a well deserved sleep. Nick BUBB is considering what to prepare for lunch and supper. It is his day in the galley. l could do with steak and chips and a couple of drinks.' I am sure that most of the sailors racing the Oryx Quest 2005 could do with a solid meal of fresh food, except perhaps Oliver DE KERSAUSON and his crew on Geronimo. The French trimaran had negotiated some tricky sailing around Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia and was on a free fall south sailing at 26 knots and looking for the fresh westerly winds that would propel them under Australia.
Brian Hancock
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