LAT 31 45.3S
LONG 168 57.9E
ETA 0600 TUES 12 DEC 11
WEATHER Wind firstname.lastname@example.org Sea Moderate Swell 080@1m Air Temp 23 Sea Temp 27 Baro 1011
Gold Coast Australia has experienced a very frustrating 24 hours filled with light winds but very nice trade winds type
sailing. Our plan of attack from New Zealand was to use the better winds to the south to sail a more direct course to
Southport while the winds lasted and then head north into the wind belt that is developing to the north of us.
We had a good run close hauled for the first 100nm from North cape in fantastic sailing conditions that allowed me to head
up the mast to do some maintenance on the mainsail and check the wind instruments at the top of the mast that have been
playing up, as well as clear a halyard. Heading up the mast while going to windward is no easy task, as the pounding into
the waves is amplified 75ft above the deck making for a wild ride that can be likened to a rodeo. The time up the mast is
always enjoyable and the views across the vast stretch of ocean that is considered by many as one of the roughest in the orld is a splendid sight.
As the winds backed late yesterday evening it allowed us to hoist our medium weight spinnaker and we were able to make some
miles on Finland before the wind completely died out in the morning and we watched Finland once again sail away from us.
Gold Coast Australia was left with no option but to gybe to the north and hoist the light weight spinnaker to try to find
some more wind. As we headed north we have come across basically the entire northern fleet and to this point have crossed
ahead of all of them. As the Northern fleet also gybed to the north it has basically become a sprint between the 7 or so
boats around us as the crews trim and helm to maximum ability trying to work that extra 0.1kt out of the boats. This race is
definatly proving how nearly all the boats are very similar in performance and how important it is to navigate the yacht to
the best route possible. All in all from the sprint to NZ to Aus we re enjoying the close racing amongst the other yachts in the fleet and its nice to have all the yachts so close.
Tonight we will pass approximately 100nm south of Norfolk island taking us into Australian waters and I would like to pass
an official Aussie welcome to Australia for all the other skippers and crews. It has been seven years since I last visited
Norfolk island and remember the visit clearly as half of our ships complement were stranded on the island when a ferocious
storm came out of nowhere forcing my ship to raise anchor and head to sea. Hopefully we will not see such a storm this time while passing Norfolk island.
With over 800nm to go until Southport this race can still be won by any of the 10 yachts particularly as there could be some
very important tactical decisions as the wind changes later in the race as a low pressure system moves to the south east
from northen Australia. Hopefully Gold Coast Australia can navigate some good routing to get around the low in more wind
than the rest of the fleet then use our local knowledge and be the first boat home!