Rolex Transatlantic 2005: Sail Plans & Flight Plans

Aboard Sariyah, June 3-48 56N, 20 14W, 589 miles to the Lizard

Boredom isn't necessarily a bad thing as Sariyah gets ready to leave the deep waters of the Atlantic and come on soundings off Great Britain There's not a whole lot to talk about today and that's a good thing on an offshore race. It means that everything's going well, that we (and me) have no complaints, no tales of shredded kites, no bad weather, no issues about our VMG. We're ticking down the miles towards The Lizard and counting down the days we have together as a crew. Plans are being made for flights home as our arrival date becomes less wild prediction and more reality based. In a way it's kind of sad to think that this crew, which has become so tight, will most likely never sail together again. And with that slight tinge of sadness comes a great deal of pride about a job well done. We haven't finished yet and haven't been scored against our competition, but we have sailed nearly 3,000 miles of open ocean at a respectable pace with no major issues, which shows how well Tim and his crew, Crusty, Steve, Saliya, Alex, and Blair had done preparing Sariyah for the race before any of the race crew arrived. We're still broad reaching through life, averaging just under 12 knots of boat speed in a breeze that ranges in strength between 18 and 25 knots. Small squalls, and late afternoon and early morning increases in breeze have required some slight changes in sail plan during the past few days. The mizzen staysail is the first to go when the breeze comes up, then the mizzen rolls up, and then we take a slab out of the main. If it really pipes up we roll in the genoa. All this is done with a calm precision and very few words. It's gratifying to be part of a team that has become so well versed in sailing this behemoth of a boat. Being a ketch, Sariyah has many different sail plan options, which can be a challenge, and one that we've learned to handle well under the watchful and knowledgeable eyes of Tim and Crusty. The wildlife sightings have dwindled in the past few days, but still with us are some members of the albatross family-spectacular fliers who never seem to flap their wings as they swoop down to wave height, then up again in a never-ending search for food. They're hypnotic to watch and I'll miss them when we get closer to shore, well away from their mid-ocean haunts. We're still in fourth place, but look forward to leapfrogging ahead of the competition in the few miles we have left, or as race crewmember Rob Denning says: "The 170-ton Sariyah is bounding ahead with unbridled momentum." Too true. Short report today, and I may wait until Sunday before I post another. Of course if the smelly stuff hits the fan, or if we batter our way into third or second place, you'll be hearing from Sariyah sooner.