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Velux 5 Oceans - What a difference a day makes

by Chris Stanmore-Major on 24 Jan 2011
Chris Stanmore-Major onboard Spartan onEdition © http://www.onEdition.com
The latest news from Chris Stanmore-Major, who is 40nm from the finish of Sprint leg 2, in Wellington New Zealand, of the Velux 5 Oceans.

What a difference a day makes. This morning I shot some video of me doing my deckcheck and like most times I was having a great time. We were blatting along at 9 knots making reasonable angles and the prospect of getting into Wellington was real and possible. Now less that 18hrs later that hope is fading fast.

The wind has increased this evening beyond the cheery 30-35kts true that it was in the video and is now topping 40- 50 in the gusts.  I have reefed down to my fourth slab on the main but this is not a configuration capable of power in the boat whilst properly beating in tidal conditions and very rough seas.  The boat is going sideways more than it is going forwards and I am tacking at times only to find myself unable to make a course better than the reciprocal of that I just left. To say this is disheartening does the situation a disservice. Wellington is only 110Nm away and in a boat that has topped 368Nm in 24hrs previously this sort of mileage seems ridiculously small and yet there is not a power on Earth now, save an ocean going tug or a helicopter, that can get me in any sooner. After 35 days at sea I can go no further with 100 odd miles to go.

This delay is not worrying from a food or water point of view but I am seriously concerned about my fuel situation. I have 4 litres left which is not going to last me long as it is too windy to rig my wind gen and there is no sun to power my solar cells.  The very real threat that the batteries will run flat soon and I will not be able to charge them is looming and in these conditions hand steering for hours upon hours is not a welcoming choice.

The forecast indicates that conditions will moderate in 24hrs but as it also says I should be making my way to Wellignton in 30Kts I am somewhat sceptical. What is certain is that a touch and go situation is now going to be drawn out further than I could possibly have imagined and there is little I can do but look out the window and sing ' Always look on the bright side of life' to myself.

Velux 5 Oceans website here
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