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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Richard du Moulin fatigued but GAII still edging ahead of Sea Witch

The Great American II (GAII) is now in the South Atlantic Ocean, 1,600 nautical miles west of Angola. The total distance travelled is more than 10,380 nautical miles. This past week has been a tough one for our itinerant Chairman of the North American Panel - Richard du Moulin. However, the Great American II is in the lead and approximately one day ahead of Sea Witch, but in order to maintain this lead, the sailors pushed themselves to the limits of exhaustion.

With Great American II in the trade winds south of the equator, the prevailing winds come from the southeast. This means that the wind is coming from behind, or astern, of the boat. As a result, the crew has put up the spinnaker, the largest sail on the boat, designed to catch more wind and push Great American II along faster in lighter winds. The drawback to using the spinnaker is that it forces the sailors to hand-steer the boat virtually around the clock - a truly exhausting task.

In Richard du Moulin’s words, they have to “…steer by hand to keep [the spinnaker] from collapsing. Wind shifts, the waves, and the boat's acceleration and deceleration continuously affect the angle of the wind. Our trusty auto-pilot follows a compass course, not the sail, so we hand steer for much of our watches. This not only tires us out, but it forces us to use our off-watch time to do all maintenance, navigation, communication, cooking, and sleeping.”

The crew has been trying to get as far west as quickly as it can so that it can cross the doldrums at its narrowest point and remain in its fickle winds for as brief a time as possible.

So, it was not an easy week. But good luck Richard and let’s hope that your good strategic thinking will maintain, and maybe even extend, your lead over Sea Witch.

Link to website http://www.sitesalive.com

Contact:  Sally Woulfe