Barcelona World Race's only U.S. competitor, Ryan Breymaier, watched his latitude position count down to zero in his first-ever crossing of the Equator this past Saturday (Jan. 15). Now he is preparing to round the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) on his journey, which began on December 31 when he and co-skipper Boris Herrmann (Germany) started with 15 other double-handed teams to take on the race’s 25,000 nautical mile (46,300 km) course, which is also known as the 'three cape route' and is the shortest but most treacherous course for circumnavigating the world.
'The tradition says that a sailor crossing the Equator for the first time should be ‘initiated’ but thankfully for me, Boris is kinder than I am and I got off pretty lightly,' said Breymaier. 'Just before we crossed, we got dressed up, put on some reggae music and had a five minute beach party. Someone snuck a small bottle of terrible Absinthe into a food bag, so we both had a swig each and then offered the rest to King Neptune, thanking him for a great trip so far and asking if he could maybe summon up just a little more wind. I am hoping he listened and liked the Absinthe more than we did!'
Breymaier and Herrmann’s Team Neutrogena has gained speed and returned to a strong fourth place as they make their way to the South Pacific via the Cape of Good Hope. 'The Doldrums were hard work; this boat is older and heavier than the boats in front of us, so in light weather we are punished. It was heartbreaking to see the guys in front pull away with their lighter boats as we stayed in one spot,' said Breymaier. 'However, now that we have come out of the Doldrums and are in stronger, more consistent breeze, we’re catching up with the boats ahead slowly but surely.'
The approximate time of arrival at the Cape of Good Hope stands at approximately two days, but Breymaier insists that Team Neutrogena is focusing on the here and now. 'Before we get anywhere near the Cape of Good Hope there are still a good few miles to go and some tactical decisions to be made. Right now we are making the most of the strong winds, which will help us go south as fast as we can and make up a few of the miles we lost on the others in the Doldrums.'
The fleet, once through the gate at the Cape of Good Hope, will enter into the menacing waters of the Southern Ocean and prepare for the heart of the journey.
As far as tactical changes go on Team Neutrogena both Boris and Ryan are keeping things uniform. 'We are not going to try to reinvent the wheel with the boats in front of us skippered by some of the most experienced guys in the game. Our aim is to keep a simple course and go straight,' said Breymaier. 'We have an older boat and we know our weaknesses in light weather. When there is breeze we push harder to keep up with the pack and we keep an eye on the weather information to avoid light patches.'