Pata Negra - can we hold the lead?


Friday 2pm UTC and all's good on Pata Negra. The music is playing on

the aft deck (we've concluded that Aussies have a strange taste in

music) - the boat is drying out and sleep is all topped up.

Last 36 hrs have been pretty tough with 20-25kts from the SE meaning

we've been hard on the wind is a very very choppy sea state. We've

moved into the full Gulf stream which flows in a meandering fashion

through these waters. It's been warm, as the stream flows 28 deg

temp, but with a flow rate of up to 5 knots, it makes the sea

extremely rough. Pata Negra, with it's wide bottom and heavy chine

generally doesn't like that as falls off the wave with a huge bang.

Waves over the deck mean there is little air below deck and everything

/ everyone is wet through. However - its warm!

Now a bit for the sailors: We've been pretty fortunate that we've

been largely above and in front of forming depressions which means the

wind has been steady from the SE and we've largely sailed the rhum

line. As we got into the streams the water temp quickly rose from 18

to 28deg C and we got on a nice flow for the last 36 hrs. So although

we've been managing about 8.5 to 9 knots boat speed we've been flushed

along at 12 knots over the ground. We've just popped out of a flow

and hope to pick up another one soon. We might say it's skill, but

we've had some luck that we're not so fast to run into the high

pressure ahead which is why you may have seen the other boats take

radical action to avoid running out of wind. So far, this has worked

well and put us (physically) ahead of some of the key competition.

700 miles on a stbd tack close hauled.... definitely something to


Routing so far showing a Wednesday 10th finish, so looks like no

records (and a few excuses for being late back to work).

Last night we saw some ships and cruising yacht - quite unusual

considering the vastness of this place. Also Andy was busy repairing

bits of the boat which did give a fab firework display as he formed a

fix with the angle grinder. Sparks everywhere in the dark night! You

have to be creative... you can't carry spares for everything and you

have to make things work.

Aladin, Alice, Scarlett & Andreas are the younger end of the crew but

definitely not short of talent. Scarlett's driving consistently above

100% on polar performance and Aladin's all round skills from living on

a boat since the age of 8 show through. It feels we've 9 drivers and

a navigator on board, which dramatically helps keep the focus through

the night hours. Andreas in the same way tackles every action with

ease demonstrating years of sailing experience on the advanced race

circuits. An amazing amount of experience and capability that will

no doubt help their sailing careers in the future.

Might not be an update tomorrow. Forecast is 25knts on the nose again - oh joy!


Chris Hanson

Pata Negra