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93 days 22 hours 52 minutes

Spirit of Hungary – Conrad Colman co-skipper’s log 28th January – But why a beaver?

“Four weeks at sea and we have finally got what we came for. Strong blustery winds, averages over 15 knots and winds over 30. I feel at home, especially after finally making it to the latitude of my birth, and am thrilled to be able to push hard in conditions that reward our efforts.”

BWR Positions of the fleet and the dropped floating Argo.

C. Colman’s log 28th Jan: ” After so many small problems, particularly recently with our main halyard problem, I had found our moral was sinking along with our rankings in the race. However, we turned things around by finding a solution to rehoist and tension the mainsail to regain almost its full surface for light winds and in the meantime we are not disadvantaged by stronger winds because we would have had to reduce sail anyways. Racing yachts are delicate animals but solving the problems before us in order to get back in the game, and take miles out of the boats ahead, makes us feel again like we are masters of our situation and not passengers with the wheels coming off!

So now four weeks into this race we have the confidence, experience and the conditions to let Spirit of Hungary off her chain and let her run a bit. The result is impressive, with deep layers of foam and spray sweeping the decks and sending curtains of water cascading over the cockpit. After we plunge down a wave it goes dark inside as all the windows are covered by foaming water. This spray has some bite too, as I went out on the foredeck to check some fittings and take some photos and was knocked off my feet and sent flying! This is not your grandmother’s bubblebath!

The stronger conditions have brought some new skills to the fore, namely that we are beavers. The innuit people have over fifty names for the different types and textures of snow but for my part I can distinguish between the rush of the water over the hull, the thump of the spray on the deck and the sprinkle of the cascade in the cockpit. But why a beaver? Animal behavoral scientists, with a mean streak apparently, ran a family of poor beavers ragged by playing a recording of trickling water next to a beaver dam and watched as the animals forewent sleep and food in their desperate attempt to locate the leak and fix their home which was, of course, in perfect condition!

As such, I was awoken from a deep sleep by a delicate splashing sound that was barely auidible in the cacophany of bangs and splashes that will be our daily companion while we are in the south. Turns out the high water pressure on deck had forced its way into a cable channel at the foot of the mast and was collecting next to the keel. Like the beaver, I rushed around with a bucket and sponge until I found the source and we stopped the leak. Here’s to being and eager beaver then!”