Race 3 - Day 10
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Crew Diary - Race 3 Day 10: Cape Town to Fremantle
My turn to blog today :-). Day 10. We are sailing deep south at ~44-degree latitude. We are pointing right at Australia now but still have approximately 3,500 nautical miles to go. For a change we are on a very nice, flat point of sail in a calm sea. It feels like we are sailing on the lake. Almost perfect, if it wasn't for very cold temperatures. Funny thing, we don’t know what the temperature is. We have every other gauge and measuring device to report barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, boat speed and angle to the wind, battery charge and more. The only way to check on air temperature is the number of clothing layers we wear. During my 4 am to 8 am watch, I had four bottoms and six top layers on. I was wearing my red foulies jacket over my dry suit. Leg 3 is a cold leg.
Calmer sea and gentle steady wind means no sails changes and more time to take care of the boat ("take care of the boat and she will take care of you" - Sir Robin) and do other things like watch rare birds that continue to chaperon us. Jerome Greenhalgh (aka "The Albatross"), one of the RTWers, brought a "Guide to Seabirds" by Peter Ryan as his boat gift few days go (each day one of us presents a boat gift during lunch - we received books, maps, games, waterproof speakers, poems, stories, songs, chocolate, snacks, and many others). We've become fascinated with the majestic albatrosses which are plentiful in this area. We just passed Prince Edward Island where most of the albatrosses breed. "Albatrosses are premier exponents of dynamic soaring, which exploits differences in wind speed between wave throughs and peaks to generate lift." Hmm, I wonder if we can use similar approach to make our boat go even faster. But wait, here is more alarming quote "....about half of the fledglings fail to improve their flight skills and die." I read that as we need to keep improving our sailing skills if we want to get on the podium and/or move up in the race standings. We are getting better every day. We are probably sailing juveniles not fledglings by now. Let's hope our hair doesn't turn grey just as the black young albatrosses’ wings turn white with age. The most important fact about the albatrosses is that they are the only endangered birds. Their biggest threat are plastic in the ocean and the mice on the islands. We cannot do much about the mice when we are sailing, but I am happy we are so diligent in collecting, storing and disposing on land all of the waste we produce as the crew during the race.