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Storm drives Virgin Money on Atlantic quest

by Alex Mills on 24 Oct 2008
Virgin Money on Day 2 of their Transatlantic Record attempt Virgin Money http://virginmoney.com

Richard Branson and the Team Origin crew have been going for just over 24 hours and the first signs of fatigue are starting to show. In preparation for the rough conditions forecast, the crew onboard Virgin Money has tried to get as much rest as possible before the predicted winds of up to 50kts hit their decks.

Race skipper Mike Sanderson, said: ‘We are having a pretty rough trip out here but we need to get some sleep before it gets even more heinous tonight. Surviving on three hours sleep is not easy when you’re getting battered on all sides by the elements.’

This morning Virgin Money and crew are still riding the same storm that pushed them passed Ambrose to start their attempt at this historical record attempt. The yacht has been pushed to its limits, facing fierce Northerly winds and high seas.

Navigator Stan Honey said: ‘We have two crossings of troughs where there will be areas of light air that we need to get through. The trough passages look ok on the GFS (global forecast system), but I've always found them to be tougher than forecast.’

With challenging conditions like these the team will need to concentrate on strategic navigating that will allow the boat to maintain good speeds in order to pass through these periods of light wind as fast as possible.

Sailor: Adam Boome blog:

'At the moment we’re really motoring … Imagine living on the waltzers at the fairground during a freezing storm and you’re almost there. Even the smallest task takes intense concentration and is very physically demanding. Can’t imagine how we will feel if this goes on for another 5 days, right up to the wire.'

Sailor: Sam Branson blog:

'We have been out here now just over 24 hours but it feels like 24 days. Leaving New York we had a magnificent sight of the Statue of Liberty and it wasn’t until then that it hit home what we were embarking on. The winds have been up to gale force 8 and we’ve had sea swells up to 35 feet and seen speeds of 30 knots. It is difficult trying to get used to having only three hours sleep and as the breast of the ship crashes over every wave a loud shudder runs down through the whole boat - brutal but amazing.'

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