LAT 30 39.6S
LONG 164 26.5E
ETA Gold Coast 0600 Tuesday 12 December 2011
WEATHER Wind 049@38kts, Sea Rough 2m, Swell 080@5m, Cloud 6/8, baro 1002 dropping 2mb/hr
The team of Gold Coast Australia are sailing hard and fast trying to catch the two yachts leading them towards South Port
Yacht Club and The Gold Coast. Should we be concerned that our 0001z sked distance to finish was 666 or is this appropriate for the boat nicknamed by others as Hell Coast
While we have been sailing the boat hard it appears that we just can not get the same speed as the two boats in front DLL
and Visit Finland, nor do we have the speed that we would normally have in these conditions. It is almost like we have a
something wrapped around our keel, but the more likely option is the growth on the keel, rudder and hull from 5 months at
sea without being slipped has got out of control and is gripping to the water as it slides past.
This morning we were sailing with our heavy weight spinnaker in 30kts of wind and the boat still would not go faster than 10
knots. It is a little bit soul destroying watching the other yachts sail faster than us while we do everything we can to
catch them. This afternoon I was watching Visit Finland on the radar pass ahead of us and they were averaging at least one knot faster than us the whole time.
As the winds increase the mood onboard is a mixture of excitement, anxiety and in some cases fear. On our race around the
world crewmembers know all too well how rough the oceans can get and while some get somewhat immune to the massive waves and
strong winds, others are still very nervous. Tonight we will see the strongest winds of the race, and gradually through the
day Team Gold Coast has been preparing for the increase in winds by changing down sails and reefing in on the mainsail.
Whilst putting the first reef into the mainsail today some lines got caught at the end of the boom resulting in the Skipper
Richard Hewson having to climb to the end of the boom and re mouse the reefing pendants, untangle the spider web of lines,
then re run and re tie the reefing pendants. A very exciting exercise when the boat is surfing down waves the size of houses at moderate speed. Video footage can be found at http://www.goldcoast.com.au
Massive storms are predicted for the Gold Coast Beaches over the weekend and these are the same storms that we are going to
be battling over the comming days. Winds are expected to further increase tonight and start to back to the north as the low
pressure system moves south ahead of us. The changing wind will make life onboard even tougher as we will no longer be
running with the wind and waves, but they will be on our beam. Tomorrow conditions will get even harder as the wind
continues to back to the north east which will result in head winds as we crash our way towards the finish at Southport.
With 600nm still to race there the race to the Gold Coast has only just begun and with the fleet so close any number of the
yachts could win. Rest assured Team Gold Coast are still holding few cards close to our chest to play before the game is
over. Hopefully the team on Gold Coast can out wit the other yachts as beating them on boat speed alone is not going to
work but out smarting them will defiantly put us in the running for another yellow pennant.