The Tortoise and the hare(s)

Steve Powell
Fri 5 Dec 2008 11:52

We find ourselves in unusual company. As of midday today we are sitting 6th in class and 11th overall. Which is before handicap and engine time penalties, the handicap will only benefit us as we are a significantly slower boat than the rest, and the engine penalties will probably be similar for all boats. All the boats around us are either much bigger, therefore should be faster, or proper racing boats. I think the fact that we are sitting so close to the lead is a strange combination of the oddities of this ARC, lack of wind, engine use, fuel capacities and ‘Big Red’.

Looking at the daily mileage that most of the other boats in our class are doing we can assume they are using their engines whenever their speed drops below certain level. So we are all essentially doing the same, the game now is who used fuel early in the race unnecessarily, because we still have at least two days, possibly three, of fluky light winds and some people will be getting very low on diesel. If we can get through this trough using the engine when necessary we will get into the NE trades that should take us all the way to St Lucia.

The fact that UHURU has been built to go to the Southern Oceans means that she is significantly heavier that her original design specification, plus the addition of a few toys doesn't help.  Design displacement (weight) 33tonnes, actual weight 42tonnes. This is not the making of a race boat but we do have large fuel tanks so with proper fuel management we can actually use this to our advantage, as the tactical use of engines has become a major factor in this years ARC. With the lighter more racy boats having a lot less fuel than us heavy cruisers they are finding it difficult to position themselves in the right spot for wind.

For the last couple of nights we have used our engine to reposition ourselves to take advantage of forecast winds. Both yesterday and today we have managed to get some really good sailing in despite the overall windless picture. On both days we have started with ‘Big Red’ for about 5-6 hours and then the wind has gone south and we have been on a three sail reach doing in excess of 10kts at times, until just before sunset when the wind has dropped again. All the time on the rhumline for St Lucia.

UHURU  11th overall, 6th in class. On the rhumline for St Lucia.

So only 840 miles to go. I can almost smell it. Having the WAGS in a five star hotel in St Lucia waiting for us is a big incentive. Spoke to Beans today, they are very comfortable and enjoying all the benefits. Beans has found herself a West Indian Russell, (tennis coach), and Sophie is fighting the boys off. So all’s well.

The ‘Dingy Boys’ who were supposed to do today's blog are back in the pit fixing a small tear in ‘Big Red’, not a problem just an old war wound that needs re-stitching. So until their finished no supper for them.

All’s well here not a lot happening just into the rhythm of daily life now. We have sashimi tuna for supper. Caught a small yellow fin tuna this morning. We had a great King Mackerel Morney the other night. Claire cooked it up a treat.

All the best from UHURU


Steve Powell (Owner/Skipper)
UHURU of Lymington
steve {CHANGE TO AT} uhuru {DOT} mailasail {DOT} com
Mob: +44 7774 423 449
Boat Sat Phone: +870773150353

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Then double click on the boat icon and it will take you to another map which shows you where we are. Usual zoom tools etc,. If you hold the cursor over the icon you will see boat speed and direction. If you want to see where we have been over the last few days go to the 'Tracker' tab and adjust the date range to how ever far back you want then refresh.


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