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14 April 2005, 11:13 am
Relief From The Sultry Heat
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Oryx Quest 2005

Despite a slow patch during the night where the boat speed dropped below six knots, Daedalus continues to make reasonable progress north as they bump and grind their way around the edge of a high pressure zone.
The centre of the high is situated directly over Oman, almost a thousand miles to the north, and it is feeding a steady northerly wind to Daedalus.

The wind is not blowing very strong and the cooler air is a relief from the sultry heat of the last few days. 'Things are not too bad on board right now,' Tony BULLIMORE (GBR) reported in a satellite phone call. 'We seem to be free of the doldrums and into the northeast trades. Right now the wind is fairly steady but not that strong. It's blowing just hard enough to keep us going in the right direction at a reasonable speed.'

Daedalus is currently on a course that will take them south of the entrance to the Gulf of Oman. It is not ideal, but it is the best course that they can get. 'We are sailing on starboard tack heading towards the coast of Oman now about 400 miles ahead of us,' BULLIMORE continued. 'It's not the best course but it's our only option at the moment. If we tack we will be on a worse course heading for India.'

Daedalus is on the same latitude as the Gulf of Aden at the entrance to the Red Sea midway between the Gulf and the coast of India. They are heading for the same spot where Doha 2006 ended up two weeks ago where the wind died completely leaving them floating helplessly on a glassy sea. Still, as BULLIMORE pointed out, a tack to the east would be very demoralizing and might just as easily land them in the same windless conditions off the coast of Iran. As the crow files Daedalus is less than a 1,000 miles from the finish but they still have to sail through the Strait of Hormuz which will add almost 200 miles to their journey.

'We are really looking forward to getting under that magical milestone of a thousand miles to go to the finish,' BULLIMORE said. 'For sailors doing an around-the-world trip the thousand-miles-to-go barrier is very big mentally. We know that we can eat up those miles in very short order if we have some wind, and even if we do not have any wind we know that it's not far to go. By this time tomorrow we should be past that last big milestone and counting down the miles to Doha. I can tell you that the crew is really looking forward to getting in. These last few miles are going to be hard on all of us, but soon it will be over and we will be looking back amazed at how quickly the race went.'

Daedalus is now in the Arabian Sea. There is no point in trying to calculate an ETA at this stage of the race; too much sticky ocean lies between their pointed hulls and the first taste of fresh food on dry land. If the centre of the high moves off to the east as forecast, they may just be able to skirt between the centre of the high and the coast of Oman without losing the wind. If so they will enjoy breeze from astern and a quick ride north to the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz.

Brian Hancock. Image, Daedalus:© Quest International Sports
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