Ross and Campbell Field sailing on BSL are just past the half-way point of their second leg challenge in the 2011-12 Global Ocean Race, heading for Wellington, NZ
Having set off from Cape Town just over two weeks ago following a two day delay, the father and son duo were certainly eager to get going. The first 24 hours saw an influx of sea life before the pair settled back into their well-known routine of battling it out with their French competition, Campagne de France. This was closely followed by confusing seas, testing both crew and equipment as the fleet headed south for the first gate.
Threat of ice was of high concern for the race committee as the increasing incidences of ice drifting far north from Antarctica resulted in limits set for the Class40 fleet, ensuring they didn’t put themselves in danger. The Western Indian Ocean ice limit was at 42 degrees south causing the Class40's to skate along the limit before reaching the eastern extremity to then head south.
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The level of competition has been extremely high so far for leg two, even 1,300 miles in, the lead changed three times in 24 hours. Ross and Campbell Field have been persistently stalking the leading boats, and in the last couple of days have taken second position from their leg one contenders Campagne de France, leaving as Ross describes, ‘the young ones’ on Cessna Citation just 58 miles ahead.
As Campbell recalls 'We had good company with Campagne de France within a mile or so of us for many hours, including some very unpleasant heavy airs reaching under the ocean. We thought they must have missed our company having shared an apartment with us in Cape Town!'
This week has seen probably the most action on BSL with a distressed albatross landing in their cockpit, much to Ross and Campbell’s surprise, which they released as quickly as possible. Campbell was slightly overwhelmed by the experience 'Not many people can say they have had an albatross in their arms in the Southern Ocean!'
Aims for the rest of the week for BSL include continuing to chase down Cessna, as they approach the western point of the second ice limit, set off the south western tip of Australia at 45 degrees south. As well as staying as dry and warm as possible in the cold southern conditions.
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Here's the latest edition:
Today’s blog is for Julen Wilson in Year 6 at Brockenhurst Primary, In Brockenhurst, Hampshire, UK.
by BSL Class40 on Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 8:23pm
Hi Julen, thanks very much for following our progress in the Global Ocean Race. You are right, we are in the middle of no-where, we are about the same distance from three points of land, about 1100 nautical miles to the south western tip of Australia in front, Antarctica to the south and the Kerguelen Islands behind us. Our position is 45 degrees 54.7 minutes south and 96 degrees 42.9 minutes east, at 22:50 UTC on 14/12/11. The time on board is 04:50 on 15/12/11, and has just got light. It is a bit of a challenge for us sometimes to keep track of the local time as we are sailing east and are changing time zones quite quickly. Every few days we have to adjust our watches so that the local time sort of matches the daylight hours.
We have been racing for 15 days now, we left Cape Town on the 28th November, and we think we will arrive in Wellington in about 15 more days. It has been very cold for the last few days as we sailed south to get some favourable winds, but today it is warming up a little bit which is a relief, since everything is damp and cold it can be quite uncomfortable. We have lots of good clothing to keep us dry and warm, but even with 3 sets of thermal layers on and heavy duty goretex foulies and boots, the cold still seeps though. The water temperature is pretty low which doesn't help, at the moment is about 10 deg, but have seen it as low as 6 deg, and when you get a wave come over you the water can find its way into any small opening in your gear.
Every day seems pretty much the same at the moment, we take turns to sleep for 2 hours at a time and stand a watch for about 3 hours. Sometimes if the weather is rough or we have a lot of sail changes we might only get a few hours of sleep a day. Sleep is precious so as soon as it is your turn to get into the sleeping bag you don't muck around, just take off your foulies and boots and get straight into the sleeping bag. We sleep in our thermal gear - so for me I have had the same clothes on for the last 15 days, and will have the same on for the next 15. It does get a bit smelly (especially the socks) but there is no-one around to complain. We are constantly monitoring our speed and the weather to keep the boat sailing at 110%, and always doing little jobs whether it is studying the weather, repairing something or just checking stuff to make sure that we don't have a breakdown. So, we are always busy.
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When everything is going well we do have some time to take it easy and just look around. There is not a lot to see around here, everything is grey...but we do have a lot of sea birds to keep us entertained. We have had lots of huge albatrosses flying around us, they are the most amazing birds to watch, with their 2 metre or more wing span they just cruise on by checking us out - we often wonder what they must be thinking seeing two people in a small boat passing through their territory. They must think we are mad. So do we sometimes.
OK Julen, I better go on deck and check that everything is OK. Hope you have a good last week at school before the Christmas break, Merry Christmas to your class, Year 6 and Mr Littlewood and Mrs Dunn. Maybe you can have a chat to Mrs Cawthra and see if you can follow our progress at school on the race tracker since it updates our position every 3 hours...www.globaloceanrace.com