Mari-Cha Update: Still averaging better than 17 knots, and almost halfway home. With favorable winds on the way, the crew is getting worked up for a try at the 24-hour record (they’d like to be the first monohull to sail 500 miles in a day). Here’s a taste of life from onboard. Getting fish wrapped around the keel is an increasingly common feature of record-breaking sailing, as the boats get faster and faster.

Sunday 5th October 2003 6:26:41 UTC

Update by Mike ‘Moose’ Sanderson: Helmsman

Well, day three has really turned it on for us. After having tacked through the trough yesterday afternoon, we have since been reaching on course at nice high speeds.

We have had a couple of little situations over the last 12 hours: firstly, last night we where sailing along at 20 plus knots and we heard a thud. We knew we hadn’t hit anything hard but where struggling to get the boat back up to speed. After checking that we weren’t dragging an old fishing net or something, we decided to trapeze Jan off the side of the boat on a halyard with a big torch to see if he could see the reason for us struggling to get back to our nice high 20 plus knots. He could see a shadow on the keel – which is canted out to weather 40 degrees when we are reaching so making it a lot closer to the surface and easier then most Yachts to see. Unfortunately we identified the culprit as some form of sea life – a shark or a sunfish or something had got itself stuck on the keel at high speed!!! Ouch!!!!

Having identified the cause, we had to drop the Jibtop and go about backing the boat down (sailing backwards) so that we could get the poor thing off the keel. It was a really successful mission for everyone apart from the fish and soon we where back doing our frantic pace towards England.

The early hours of the morning brought our second bit of excitement for the day: this time we where blasting along with the Code 7 on ,which is a tight luffed reaching Gennaker, and the luff rope snapped. This sent the whole 470 square metres of Cuben Fiber into the ocean. Fortunately, with the whole crew lining the gunwale of the boat we where able to haul the thing back on board in one piece and the guys set straight to work fixing it. The good news is that it was time for a sail change anyway so luck seems to be on our side at this stage and the Code 7 also lives to fight another day.



The grey North Atlantic

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