Kevin Escoffier (PRB): This morning I had a small problem, my central GPS system went 'off the rails' and was showing speeds of 80 knots in my navigation system. As it indicated a false speed, the control unit thought I was 165 degrees to windward while in fact I was 140 downwind VMG. As a result, the pilot luffed up to go to tack with my big gennaker up, the J3, and the the second rudder up... So there, you can imagine! By the time I was able to sort it all out and get going again, Yannick (Bestaven) had slipped by in the good pressure. I had to do a bit of a re-alignment move and so I wasn't available for the 5 am radio session this morning! In the meantime I have switched to the 'spare' GPS. I'm going to try and find out where the problem is coming from. It's OK because we had just 15 knots of wind, but things are going to get fresher in the coming days and I do not want to have it happen again in the more challenging conditions.
Right now I have 15/16 knots and the sea is flat. There will be a complete change of scenery as of tomorrow. We're going to be ahead of the front and going to have to move fast to hang on to it as long as possible. We're going to have to know where to gybe in relation to this front in order to position ourselves best for the depression that is announced for December 1st. There, it's going to hit a bit harder, I've got winds forecast at over 40 knots with big seas. This is when I should be passing the Cape of Good Hope. I will have to be careful and not get too close to the ice exclusion zone. There is also the Argulhas current if you pass close to the Cape of Good Hope. There if you get the wind against the current and you have to be really careful!
The temperature has dropped but that suits me and it is only going to go down now. I took a little shower last night and put the thermals back on. I have stacked the weight further aft and have stowed the sails used to go around the high. With so little wind all day yesterday I spent it watching my fellow sailors slip through the inside but then I gave the boat a good clean and ready for the change of scenery and the roaring forties and the Indian Ocean which are next on the horizon.
The next shower will probably be with the kettle!
I was sailing in sight of Boris (Herrmann) and Yannick (Bestaven) yesterday. I think Boris had some problems and had to climb the mast. I was rather disappointed that they caught up on me like that. I hesitated for a long time to take the same option Jean had, which was interesting because it was closer to the direct route. I made a strategic choice. I have no regrets, but I thought that the rounding of the anticyclone would have gone slightly better as the forecasts showed me more wind. It's a new start as we go into the South Seas in our little group and we will have to set a new pace.
In my opinion, Jean will manage to cross ahead, but there is always a difference between what is forecast and the reality on the water, and things can happen. Sam Davies and Louis Burton are well positioned too, we will all converge again. The next important decision will be how to time the gybe ahead of the front and do this in the best wind and sea state.”
Kevin Escoffier / PRB