Letters from the sailors

The boat and me are in a good mood, studying the strategy for the next 48 hours and drying out a bit


Anna Maria Renken, Richard Tolkien and Louis Duc

Anna Maria Renken/Nivea

Coucou! Just a quick update from board. After the gallop of the last days, it’s a pleasure to be under big my chute and in some big sunshine now. It’s less fast, but at least I can move on two legs only instead of needing my arms on top of that…

The boat and me are in a good mood, studying the strategy for the next 48 hours and drying out a bit 😉

Too sorry to hear about my friend’s stop in Horta, wishing him a a big “head up”!!!

More from me soon, kiss and tschüß (goodbye) from ANNA.

Richard Tolkien/44

After two tough days working north to go round the top of the deep low of Frday night, and then work away from the strong winds generated on the nw and w side of the low, during Sunday and more so today sailing conditions have been easier.

I went up to 48 36 north, perhaps one of the most northerly in the fleet but even so had 12 hours of 35k gusting more with big seas to go with it. The strategy had been to seek less strong winds by going north but the gale turned out to be worse than initially expected. To the south of where 44 the conditions must have been v tough indeed.

Saturday saw us making good speeds westwards but the boat was still picked up and swung round by the swell and breaking sea. At what point we narrowly avoided a crash gybe. Our positioning has enabled us to recover ground on SMA,Imoca number 4, over six hundred miles to the south, taking the southern route.

The challenge now is to find a way through a couple of high pressure ridges ahead. The last week has been quite a personal challenge. Because the boat was late in her refit , and then encountered some significant electronic problems, which Nick, Mark, Jo and Mat worked hard to sort out, supported by other good folk from Plymouth,including the University, I in fact only had two and a half days on the boat sailing solo prior to the start and five in total!

Not you might say the best formula to prepare for the North Atlantic. But we made it through the gale and are almost half way. So New York it is!!


Louis Duc/Carac

Soon we’ll be out of the trade winds and cold fronts and we’ll be wearing shorts and sunglasses instead of boots and oilskins. We’ll stow away our spinnakers and start the journey to New York.

Yesterday I saw the sunset under spinnaker, accompanied by dolphins, some large birds and whales. I noticed a tail plunge and tried to take a picture.

The arrival of the south westerly winds will eventually end my descent south and I’ll know whether my strategy has played out on Thursday late afternoon. Sailing in the north is not easy, the weather is not very clear, the depressions are not very active… in the south the weather is a lot more straight forward, which is really what prompted me to take this route.

If my northern friends outwit the challenges in the north, we might recross, but it could be me that passes by first.

Today I’m unable to make the call and in my opinion, I’m sure an expert meteorologist dare predict it…am I wrong?

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