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93 days 22 hours 52 minutes

SOH skipper’s log March 27-28-29 Spirit of Hungary – from Nandor and Conrad (Eng and Fr)

SOH skippers are sailing in the transitions zone heading to the Equator.


Barcelona’s Guillermo Altadill and Chilan co-skipper José Munoz should cross the finish line Monday on their IMOCA 60 Neutrogena and secure second placed overall in the Barcelona World Race, the two handed race around the world.

Spirit of Hungary are finally making a good N’ly course in the SE’ly trade winds which are quite light for them still but they do seem to have better prospects for the moment, although the Doldrums do look a little voracious for them. Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman are 800 miles to the Equator now.

Rankings Sunday 29thMarch at 1300hrs UTC
1 Cheminées Poujoulat (B Stamm – J Le Cam) finished 25/03/2015 at 17:50:25 UTC
In 84d 05h 50min 25s
2 Neutrogena (G Altadill – J Muñoz) + x  miles to finish
3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella – G Marin) + x miles to leader
4 We Are Water (B Garcia – W Garcia) + x miles to leader
5 One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert – D Costa) + x miles to leader
6 Renault Captur (J Riechers – S Audigane) + x miles to leader
7 Spirit of Hungary (N Fa – C Colman) + x  miles to leader
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson – P. Ribes)

Overview by BWR news March 28 – Second place Neutrogena has entered the Mediterranean and transitions to dealing with lighter, more changeable winds and considering the land and seas breezes along the coast of Spain. Fortunately, for the next 24 hours, light to moderate following SW/W winds are expected to carry them toward the finish.

Thurd place GAES Centros Auditivos is still making relatively slow progress north/northeast as they fight moderate N/NE winds off the African coast and into the Gulf of Cadiz.
We Are Water and One Planet continue to experience veering trade winds as they sail north. This is allowing both of them, but especially We Are Water to hedge back east from their far westerly position.

Renault Captur got trapped in the doldrums yesterday, but made enough progress north so that they should break free into the NNE/NE trade winds at the Equator today.

Yesterday afternoon we were mostly sailing North with the main and the C0 in 5-10 knots easterly wind, which keeps turning within a 40° range. It’s real summer now. Yesterday, while I was repairing the pedestal, I could feel I got sunburnt. I started working in the shadow of the sail but as we progressed in time, the sun had imperceptibly reached me. I got sunburnt, which is not a surprise, as I’m rather white skinned, on the other hand: abound a week ago we were in winter.

Nandor Fa skipper’s log 27 March – meanwhile sailing in the transitions zone heading to the Equator.

“Sometime in the night C called me to change him. I had no idea what time it was, nor do I know now. I quickly made a wake-up coffee, which felt very good, and hoisted the J1 – with regard to the forecast. While I was working, I saw a shooting star – not just any kind, it’s beam was snow white and so shiny that I’ve never seen before. I quickly made a wish!

I sacrificed one of my found my white shirts, cut it and made a head and neck cover of it. In case it gets even more summery, I will need it.

The wind had calmed to 2,5 – 4 knots, and barely could even blow the sails in place. Then it calmed even more and we stopped completely. Now for a while, our programme is the already known “clapping, creaking, grating show” again. I admit, the creaking is my teeth in this case.

The AIS is a miracle! There were two ships approaching us, one from north-east, and one from north-west, roughly both of them could have hit us, since we can’t escape now. The AIS alerted, then displayed all the data of the ship: where from, where to, what speed, etc. Then I call them on the VHF 16 channel by their name and kindly ask them to evade. They immediately answer to the call by their name, and change direction. Earlier, here on the ocean or anywhere, it wasn’t like this. This is really good.

I call today the day of patience and sailing tolerance.

27th March, 16 15 UT, position: 18° 21,7′ S, 029° 17,7′ W.”


Conrad Colman co-skipper’s log March 28th

Position: 17 Degrees 37 South 029 Degrees 13 West Status: Stuck (Again!) All of this feels eerily familiar.

The thumping sun, the shining oily sea, the lack of that precious motive force… wind! In our extended escape from the Alboran Sea in the start of the race, I felt like we had been punished by a pantheon of gods.  Plagued again by pitiful puffs the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who was punished in Hades comes to mind. Forced to roll a rock up a hill in perpetuity, from which it always rolled down again, Sisyphus would surely have had sympathy for our endless efforts to follow the fickle wind, with little to show for our struggles.

After fast reaching our way from Cape Horn to the southern coast of Brazil, we had harboured hope that we might be able stamp our name on this part of the race course. Sadly the wheels came off this dream as we have been caught for days now in a bubbling mess of troughs and ridges, a turbulent transition zone without clean wind extending eastwards from the coast for over a thousand miles. With our route thus barred, we have had no choice but to slowly fight our way through, like aquajogging through molasses.

Even as the boat has slowed our pace on board has increased. The “calms” we have encountered are actually a slow moving dance between warring parcels of air, a dynamic equilibrium between opposing forces. As these systems butt heads, ground won or lost by either side sends the wind spinning in circles so we tack and gybe, furl and unfurl ad infinitum under starry skies or blistering hot days. I am sporting a wide brimmed hat and coats of sunscreen whereas Nandor has ripped up an old Tshirt and is now sporting a rather fetching Laurence of Arabia look. We have been busy on the maintenance side too, first with our key hole surgery on the winch pedestal, followed 36 hours later by a complete rebuild. The charger for the engine starting battery fell victim to humidity from our previous problem with the keel bolts but we rigged a up the power cable from the bilge pump in its place. We mainly get 100% clean energy from the boat’s movement through the water via our hydrogenerators but with speeds slowing we need the engine to charge the batteries. This is essential, as we need to power the instruments but also the water maker! With sweat pouring off us we are incredibly dependent on this alchemy of diesel into fresh water.

Keep in mind that all these maneuvers have been done with one hand on my part. During my most recent watch I was still able to furl the solent jib, set the J1/ Genoa, gybe the boat and grind on the backstays… all with my right arm. When we do jobs together, I step in on the pedestal winch with Nandor but I feel terrible that by only contributing one side I am asking him to do half of my share too. Still, he says that this solo training has been incredibly useful for his future sailing. The pain in my shoulder has reduced to a dull ache and while I have recovered most of my range of movement I fear that I have certainly damaged either the inner cup of the joint, the labrum, or stretched the tendons somewhat. My joint now feels like a small hand in a large glove. It works, but you can’t help feeling that there’s a little more room than you need.

Here’s hoping I continue to improve!

Carnet de bord du 28 mars
Position: 17° 37’ Sud et 29° 13’ Ouest
Statut: bloqués (encore!)

Tout cela semble malheureusement trop familier. Le soleil de plomb, la mer d’huile, le manque de vent! Lorsque l’on tentait de s’échapper de la mer d’Alboran, au début de la course, j’avais un peu l’impression que l’on avait été punit par les dieux. A nouveau dans la pétole cela me rappelle le mythe grecque de Sisyphe: condamné à faire rouler un rocher en haut d’une montagne d’où il redescendait tout le temps, il aurait surement eu de la sympathie pour nos efforts répétitifs!

Après une belle remontée de l’Atlantique du Cap Horn jusqu’au sud du Brésil, nous avions l’espoir que cette partie de la course nous porte bonheur. Malheureusement nous sommes vite revenus à la réalité alors que nous sommes coincés depuis des jours maintenant dans une zone de thalwegs et dorsales, une zone de transition entre 2 systèmes météo, qui s’étend sur plus de 1000 milles et nous barre le chemin vers le nord. Nous n’avons pas d’autre choix que d’être patients, c’est comme essayer de marcher dans de la mélasse!

Alors que le bateau a ralenti son rythme, le notre a plutôt augmenté. Les zones de calme que nous rencontrons sont, en fait, toujours dues à des masses d’air qui entrent en contact, créant un équilibre plutôt instable. Lorsque les masses d’air se rencontrent, l’une «prend le dessus» sur l’autre renvoyant le vent en arrière et nous faisant tourner en bourrique. On vire, on empanne, on enroule, on déroule les voiles sous un ciel étoilé ou sous une chaleur de plomb. Je vis avec un large chapeau vissé sur ma tête et des couches de crème solaire et Nandor a un nouveau style «Laurence d’Arabie» grâce à un vieux T-shirt sacrifié pour l’occasion.

On est bien occupés du côté du bricolage également, d’abord avec notre opération sur le moulin à café, suivie 36 heures plus tard par une reconstruction complète. Et là nous avons tout juste fini de réparer notre système de charge pour les batteries qui montrait des signes de faiblesse. Comme nous avons beaucoup ralenti nous ne pouvions plus compter uniquement sur les hydrogénérateurs. Nous n’étions pas très rassurés car en plus des instruments, les batteries permettent de faire marcher le désalinisateur ( qui transforme l’eau de mer en eau douce que nous pouvons consommer). Avec les litres de sueurs que nous produisons chaque jour nous avons bien besoin de lui!

Il faut garder en tête que je fais toutes les manœuvres avec un seul bras aussi. Durant mon dernier quart, j’ai réussi à enrouler la voile d’avant, préparer une voile plus grande pour la remplacer (J1 pour les experts) et empanné… à un bras, c’est du sport! Quand on fait les manœuvres à 2, je vais au moulin à café avec Nandor mais je me sens coupable car il a toujours la moitié de mon travail à faire en plus du sien. Il me dit que cet entrainement est très positif pour la préparation de ses futures navigations en solo, mais ça me gêne quand même. La douleur dans mon épaule s’est atténuée mais j’ai la sensation désagréable d’avoir touché un tendon ou autre chose. J’ai l’impression que mon articulation est un peu plus lâche qu’avant, comme s’il y avait un peu trop d’espace… mais je récupère ma mobilité donc je reste un peu optimiste.

Affaire à suivre…