Sunday, December 21, 2008

Team Russia... pedal to the metal!

Photo Sergey Bogdanov Team Russia
Today is known on our boat as D-Day: Do or die, make or break. We will have to punch through and if we do our X-mas ETA is looking pretty good. If we don’t, well, we might spend here a while and have to ring the shore crew to have some x-mas leftovers sent to us.

So right now, we are pedal to the metal in the stronger wind fan that precedes the windless passage. Life is good, and the Malacca straits are giving us some of the best sailing in the world. Sure there is plenty of traffic, but our AIS system is doing a fantastic job. Mandatory for the Singapore Straits, this devise sends our direction and speed to all commercial ships within 20 Nm range. We appear on their screens as a dot with a tag: “Kosatka Racing Yacht, limited maneuverability”. So far, this has worked like a very powerful insect repellent. None of the cargo ships want to have anything to do with us, and whilst we are blasting (or drifting, like last night) along, the armada of cargo ships magically opens up in front of us. Brilliant!

The weather models are far from reliable here, so we are relying heavily on the position reports. They are pretty much our weather forecast for the next 150 NM. A sea-breeze is forecast to develop this afternoon along the Malaysian shore, so we are aiming for that. The exact transition between the NE winds that we are in now and the Westerly sea-breeze however is as crucial as it is difficult to predict. If we can reach the zone in good shape, we will have good breeze for the remainder of the afternoon. So, every report is awaited with even more eagerness than before, and any delay in it coming in via our satellite communication is making us eat our hats.

With X-mas dinner on our minds now almost all the time as we have rationed our food, we are more hungry than ever to get through this next stretch. That is a big up according to some on the boat, quoting: “Hungry wolves hunt the best”. Yeah, “whatever”, I could do with a good steak right now - just fine. Thinking of that, the next position report is due in every minute. Better check it out!