Well… here we are in Rio! Sitting at waters edge drinking beer & Caipirinha’s and musing over the adventure.
26 days of constant sailing, no sight of any land, in a massive massive ocean. Seeing dolphins, turtles, flying fish & whales but not catching any tuna!!
So what thoughts… ?
Firstly, a huge thank you to everybody who supported me, either with donations or their specialist skills. I feel very very privileged to be amongst so many kind and generous people.
Thank you to all those who followed me, 2000 hits on website and 86% voting for me to carry on!
This is what I have observed: Our world is a beautiful and powerful place. Call it what you will; God, Nature, Mother Earth or whatever your household Gods are. We are grains of sand on our planet and that’s the beauty of it, our tiny universe within our planet which in itself is a grain of sand etc… Our successes and challenges are hugely important in our own universes but of no consequence in the bigger picture and that should give us a much better perspective on them.
I leave you with two quotes:
“only those who risk going too far can ever find out how far they can go” – Oscar Wilde
“you rarely regret the things you have done but often regret those you haven’t” – Sir Robin Knox Johnson
So, be brave, be adventurous and enjoy our beautiful planet”
Just 30 miles from Rio but endlessly tacking (zig zagging into the wind) so sometimes heading for Rio then heading away from it.
An amazing 48 hours of sailing with 30 knot winds smashing the boat and then 25 knot winds straight on the head in the final push to Rio.
It’s amazing that after 26 days at sea the frontrunners are all within 25 nMs of each other. That equals less than 0.25% of the total straight line distance, it really is that close !!
We’re currently 3rd but Henri Lloyd behind us have got 7 hours reparation for a diversion they had to make to help another boat in the doldrums who had run out of water, they are currently a little more than 7 hours behind us, so we need to cross the line 7 hours before them or we will loose 3rd place.
The reparation is a controversial issue because they diverted for 7 hours in the doldrums meaning they lost almost no ground because everyone wasn’t moving but the reparation is over the whole race so right now doing 10 knots it’s worth 70 nMs. Not fair but nothing we can do.. !! Watch Henri Lloyd !!!
Life on board difficult, any last remnants of personal hygeine have been abandoned as all we are doing is working the boat and ourselves as hard as possible plus of course the endless pitching and crashing of the boat. Waves breaking over the foredeck etc… We’ve all certainly had our money’s worth over the last few days.
The crew roughly divides into those who absolutely love it and those who look terrified!! No prizes for guessing which camp I fall in!!
Last bit coming up, should be in Rio in 2 1/2 hours, followed by a few cold beers…
Well… after 24 days at sea the final end of the race is near.
We have 300 nM to go and are currently doing around 10 nM per hour.
Amazingly after all this time, the front runners are very closely bunched, anybody can win, the problem with the distance positions you see is that they are just straight lines between the boat and Rio, they may, or may not be, sailable in that direction.
Our last tactic was to gybe (OK turn right) further South than the others, this gives us a better straight run, with a better wind angle into Rio. Well, that’s the theory .. time will tell.
ETA finish line is Sunday morning, we are cautiously optimistic but anything can happen. On board, there’s a feeling of confidence, mixed with complete concentration as no one wants to make a mistake at this vital stage.
Thank you so much to everyone who has and is following me I feel amazingly supported and stunned to hear the 50 people had voted for me to carry on before fate intervened and I had to take it off!! Although I have mixed feelings about not continuing, I know it’s the right decision for me.
It’s been an amazing experience which I will write about later and share some of those thoughts with you.
Bit technical this one, just so I can pretend that I’ve learnt something !!!
Currently we’re 622 nM from Rio and the last twists and turns of the race are comimg to the fore.
The winds currently NE and lighter are the last of the trade winds before the Southerlies from the South Atlantic take over. These usually kick in around Capo Frio, the top corner of South America.
So right now we’re pushing hard to get to Capo Frio within 48 hours,by 5th October, some 200 n miles per day. When they do kick in, we’ll be sailing straight into the wind and the only way to do that is to tack ( basically zig zag up wind). The issue with that is that the last 200 nM geographically become 400 nM actually, basically double the distance.
So anybody can still win, although the best chance is with the front three (which includes us). Expect the field to close up as those behind us are still be in good winds whereas we are in lighter.But don’t panic as they will hit the same light winds as us when they get here. The further South we can get before the Southerlies take over is going to decide who is on the podium or not.
God I can’t stand the tension !!!
As ever, thanks so much to everyone who’s following this.
Well… life at 30 degrees has finally come to an end after 4 days ‘mountaineering’ and we’re now running with the wind with a spinnaker up.
It’s weird because when you sail as close into the wind as you can, you get the actual wind speed in your face plus the speed of the boat going into it, so you get whistling in the rigging, big wind noises and effects etc.
When you are sailing with the wind you are going just as fast but the wind seems a gentle breeze.
Everybody getting pretty tired now, the doldrums were two days longer than ever experienced before and now we all want a beer!!
Jo Jo put up a ‘vote for Ricardo to carry on’ on the site and some 50 people responded, 86% saying ‘yes’ …. well, it’s alright for you lot but you don’t have to do it !!
But a huge thank you to all who voted, I feel amazingly supported.
Anyway, the bottom line is that I’ve decided that I’ll stop at Rio. There’s quite a lot going on at work that I need to get back too, plus the very important face that the ‘ricardoracestorio’ website wouldn’t make sense anymore!!
We’ve just done the Ocean Sprint which means 3 points for the fastest boat between 5 degrees south and 10 degrees south, results to follow but we think we came second fastest (0 points!)
Now onto Rio. we’re currently 3rd but in a slightly better position regarding wind angle than 1 & 2, it’s a big ask but we are closing the gap, lets see 860 miles to go!!
Crossed the equator yesterday involving “King Neptune” doing unspeakable things to ‘first timers’ inc me !!
They say that water goes down the plug hole clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and anti in the Southern, so naturally I was fascinated to see what would happen exactly on the equator!! Is it just me ?? The only usable equipment to test this was the heads, needless to say the whole research project got horribly complicated and messy with frankly pretty unsatisfactory no results, more detailed research needed (by someone else hopefully!)
Life at 30 degrees is exhausting, this is now our 4th day at it, you have to hang onto EVERYTHING, we stagger around the boat like drunks hanging onto whatever they can find because the whole of the rest of the world is moving.
On deck it’s a bit easier except that you seem to spend most of the time looking straight down at the water whereas only a few days ago it was on the horizon!! Energy levels are low and if anybody does something that means you conserve just a little bit, then it’s a hugely valuable gift.
Still, we’re now cracking along at 10 + knots which is great fun as long as you hang on. There’s a real sense of getting somewhere, Rio is now 1300 miles away and we do 200 plus a day. Talk now often turns to the first thing we are going to do etc etc the main social activity appears to be to drink a lot of cold beer!!
Now.. the big question of the day… “SHALL RICARDO CRACK ON TO CAPE TOWN??”
I think anyone who is reading this should vote on it at the bottom of this post …there is a place on the boat, I’m not completely sure but there is something about the huge Atlantic rollers in the Southern Atlantic. They are bigger than London Buses and the hills and valleys swallow up the boat completely (not literally hopefully!) so the whole thing goes out of sight inc the mast.
Downside is cost, time, energy and will I get any more out of it that I haven’t already.
Still, sailing into Cape Town sounds pretty sexy to me !!
About yesterday morning we moved from a land with no wind to a land with some wind. A transitional place where slowly ‘wind’ v ‘no wind’ becomes more wind and slowly builds and builds. There are no lines or signs between the Doldrums and the ‘real’ world, just a slow transition.
At first the crew doesn’t quite believe it but constant winds reassure us that we have. We now live in a world of 30 degree angles. The wind is coming over our port side and will continue that way for at least 4 days. This is a topsy turvy world with what was floor in the doldrums is now wall and things that used to be above your head are now right in front of it.
Simply moving across the boat requires heroic acts of mountaineering. You daren’t let go of the boat even for one second, if you do you are throw to the other side of the boat in an instant.
Crew ‘belay’ themselves about the boat and a web of ropes that appeared magically. The only thing missing from this mountaineering scene is ice picks and sherpas!
I have a 5 hour shift rest, but I just can’t sleep, I just get pinned in a ‘v’ between my bunk and the wall, it used to be 90 degrees now its around 50. Surfaces that appear to be horizontal aren’t, it’s a trick of the eye, you put something down on it and it’s gone!
Still, we’re out.. !! and our strategy is working, us and the 2 other boats that followed us out East are now at the very front of the race.
We’re now getting 24 knots of wind, those to our West 10 -15, they must be mad as hell to see their lead evaporate and ours increase, now stars the straight drag race to Rio via the Equator, don’t think we’ll stop there for a swim though!!
The Doldrums get to you, that’s how it is. The name itself conjures up images of ancient mariners, lack of direction, feeling low and even tinges of madness. It’s this last one that interests me…
Whatever journey you are on over the sea the motion is incessant, it never stops and in a race the competitive element is there all the time.
So you are racing along and all of a sudden everything stops, you just sit there bobbing up and down like a rubber duck in the bath.
In the ‘other world’ outside the Doldrums we measure movement in nautical MPH in double figures, now it’s metres…now look for movement in metres, stealing whatever we can from the occasional sea breezes.
It’s the contrast … moods both personal and collective are directly linked to if the boat is moving or not. Great when we feel we are getting through it and when we’re not, “when will it ever end”.
It’s hot and humid and nothings happening, suddenly you understand how profound the phase ” in the doldrums” is. Still, we’re nearly through it and into the ‘outside world’ where the benign Southern Trade winds await us and we can measure in double figures again!
Next up… in the Doldrums vacuum the mind wanders, at least mine does, so some Doldrum fantasies to follow..”
Currently due west of Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria etc. on the bottom of the ear of west Africa. To our west is Trinidad and Tobago but miles away…
We passed the 2,000 mls to Rio point this afternoon but are still stuck in the bloody doldrums.
They run from 10 degrees North to around 6 degrees north but move and are currently moving South …as we are. What little wind there is are sea breezes and currently we just can’t head South so its either pretty well due West or East meaning we are not much closer to getting through it just going along it.. every metre gained is a result.. even through the whole area is around 250 N miles wide.
Ho hum, we need to get out of here, everyone knows that whoever exits first and gets to the Southerly Trade winds usually wins. Confidence waxes and wanes depending on how we are doing at the time.
Writing going well I’ve stumbled over a fairly good concept about the differing lifelines of several people on board have merged at this point and why.. I’m interviewing them and asking for total honest about why they are here and what their hopes for the future are now and then plan to ask them again in a years time – successes and failures etc. People are being very open and honest it’s good. No idea what I’ll do with it..
Bloody sat phone is next to useless and has now gone permanently engaged, plus I was the last to use it so may end up with a bill for 72 hours talk time!!!