The holidays are on the minds of many of the Around Alone skippers even though their days are not filled with cheer. It's the time of year when emotions run high and family and friends are desperately missed.
The toughest part of a trip around the world is spending special days like Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries alone at sea, especially when the conditions are miserable. Brad van Liew, skipper of Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is no stranger to being alone on holidays. "It might be summer time but I am definitely not missing a little bit of cold to bring the holiday cheer,"
he wrote. "Yesterday was fairly warm, but the temperature has dropped with the arrival of a storm to the south. The winds have also increased to 40 knots as expected. This is rough but okay conditions for going off the wind fast so the discomfort is made much easier. Going to windward in this; well let's not even think about it."
Bruce Schwab, skipper of Ocean Planet, was also finding the going tough, but his work list for the days was growing longer by the minute and the time spent doing chores around the boat would be sure to take his mind off the holidays. Bruce sent a log explaining what lay ahead for him. "Wild day so far, after a wild night. As soon as it was light enough to see, I had a look around and had a few details to attend to: mainsheet bridle was caught behind the tiller head, the leeward safety bridle was wrapped around the GPS antenna, the sail tie on the staysail hanks had gone missing (so the sail was trying to pull itself up), and a sheet bag on the boom for reef lines had blown out dumping the tail of the third reed line and others over the side. I could tell that at least today wasn't going to be boring."
Keeping busy is the best antidote for a dose of homesickness.
Kojiro Shiraishi was having different kinds of problems aboard Spirit of yukoh. "Today when I was chewing gum, there was a "crunch" and I bit into something hard,"
he wrote. "When I examined the object closely, I realized it was my tooth! I hope it doesn't cause any pain. When I have toothaches, my concentration level drops and my sailing goes bad. Recently, it's not just the yacht but also my body that has been out of order. I must never forget that safety comes first and I should pay more attention to my health."
Kojiro speaks for all the competitors when he says that health comes first.
Further to the north John Dennis on Bayer Ascensia was still making his way back to South Africa." I expect to be on land by Christmas eve and will be able to assess my situation at that time,"
he wrote. John turned around on Saturday morning after the bearings on the shaft for his alternator and ballast pump ceased working. Without them he would not be able to generate electricity and move his water ballast making his transit of the Southern Ocean difficult at best. We will keep you appraised of his progress.
Positions at 0600 GMT, 23/12/02
||Bobst Group-Armor Lux
||Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America
||Spirit of Canada
||Spirit of yukoh