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  • A Call to AntarcticaOn March 10, 2009 at 13:43:19 French time, Skipper Rich Wilson and Great American III crossed the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne. Race time: 121 days, 41 minutes and 19 seconds
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Heading into the Pacific Alone

  • Jan
    04

    1146 utc, 49/56S 172/43E, staysail, 2 reefs, 20-25kts NW, speed 11.8 @ 067T

    Fast day downwind, now with the wind changing forward, fast again. Mostly solent and 3rd reef downwind today with a 30-35 knot WNW wind, then down to staysail and 3 reefs, then when wind dropped a bit to 20-25 knots and went forward, went back up with 2nd reef.

    Aiming at a waypoint to the NW of the route to the ice gate. Another low coming along and want to try to get a bit more north (Halleluja! We just passed 50S latitude going north!) and the wind between the low and one of the Pacific highs will have a lot of north in it so this would permit us to be a bit freer in angle. Great American III has a canting keel but no extra ballast tanks for righting moment, so is a bit tender that way.

    Sad news today is Jonny Malbon/Artemis is retiring from the race due to mainsail delamination. Jonny and I are like Iridium pen pals after talking nearly every day through the gales of the Indian Ocean. A very tough decision for him to make. He'll head for Auckland, New Zealand now. En route we'll continue to talk, and he said that once ashore, he'll give a call every couple of days. It was important for him, too, to have a soulmate in the gales out there.

    My friend Murray Lister called today from New Zealand. We'll chat regularly across the Pacific.

    So we enter the Pacific alone. Steve White is 1000 nautical miles (nm) ahead and going faster and away. Norbert and Raphael are about 1000 nm behind and going similar speed to us. It was great to have Jonny within 100 miles. We'll push a bit across the Pacific.

    There are 3 ice gates, each progressively a bit further north, which makes the route from the final one to the Horn a dramatic southeast track. And you better be aware of the Chilean coast as a possible lee shore on that last bit.

    First things first. Our waypoint en route to the first ice gate passes the Bounty Islands close aboard; must be from Captain Bligh's Bounty. And just south of those are the Antipodes, islands that are very close to the 180-degree east-west line--the International Date Line. Here we go.