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Whale strike for Miranda Merron

At the end of play Tuesday, Miranda Merron touched base with her shore team to alert them that '40 Degrees' had hit a whale but that she and the boat were undamaged. She remains polled in 9th place and mid fleet in terms of latitude with 5th placed boat, 'Beluga Racer' (Boris Hermann) just 2 miles in front of her.

They are so close Miranda has regularly reported seeing him. So not much in it between 9th and 5th then! Miranda remains happy with her southerly route and yesterday saw many of the other Class 40s come further south, with just 'Groupe Royer' and 'Prévoir Vie' (Vendée sailor Parnaudeau) lower than her.

(06:11) 'Last night's event was a collision with a whale - don't know who was more scared - it or me. I was down below at the time, and luckily it was quite light, so only about 7 knots to 0. I thought we had hit a boat, because of the noise, but it was items of gear inside the boat continuing on their path at the speed the boat had been doing before it parked abruptly.

There was loads of water on the foredeck (which had been dry till then), I found a small creature - a rubbery thing, the kind that I think lives on whales and then saw whale disappearing in welling water behind the boat. Pretty scary, and luckily not high speed. I checked every part of the boat and I don't think there is any damage, though the whale might have a headache.'

'Since yesterday's collision with a whale, it has been an uneventful night sailing downwind. There is solid cloud cover, so it was a rather dark night. The wind was from 10 to 20 knots, and I think I have taken and shaken the
1st reef in the main 4 times during the night. Breakfast at 3 am was a slice of my mother's delicious Christmas cake. I think Boris is not far away - I could see his nav light for much of the night.'

'Other than the whale, I have see a sunfish, lots of dolphins which look like phosphorescent torpedoes at night, a weird creature that must have been living on the whale until it got dislodged by '40 Degrees', and one shooting star on the first night. The weather ahead looks tricky, and patience will be needed to get through the light stuff. As this is currently a downwind race, I have covered 5 degrees of longitude in the last day:

Phil Plumtree - it has to be the Christmas cake...; Health Unlimited - 40 Degrees has passed the longitude of the capital of Sierra Leone; Volvo Ocean Race - good luck with the race - seems like centuries ago that I last raced with big crew; My father, Ken Merron, who instilled a love of sailing and the sea in me. It is entirely my father's fault that I am still messing around in boats! Batfish - Bill and Nicky, you said that incidents could/ should be Batfish moments, so the whale is yours! Miranda/ 40 Degrees 48 09 N 16 59W

by Sophy Williams


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9:18 AM Wed 14 May 2008 GMT

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