Day 51 (Tue 23 Feb 1330 - Wed 24 Feb 1330)
Crews made better progress over the last 24 hours, making good 1200nm. All crews appear to be moving relatively well considering the conditions – but that could change at a moments notice with the weather as unpredictable as it currently is. Twenty six crews have reached the halfway point, of which 22 have less that 1000nm to go.
Charlie Pitcher is really struggling over the last 100nm. He made good 53nm yesterday, leaving just 54nm to go, but local conditions are hampering his efforts. Charlie is currently battling 20-25 knot South and South South West winds. Reports suggest he will make land on Thursday 27 February, but the last few miles will be far from straight forward.
Today sees the celebration of Will Smith’s 22nd birthday on board Heritage Explorer. Will and Tom have been focusing their minds on records of late, but not land to land records, personal boat records. Each session they row for either 1 hour or 2 hours and try to go further than each other. So far Will holds the current record of an hour, having rowed 3.31nm and Tom the 2 hour record at 6.23nm. Engaging in these little games will take their minds of the overall goal and focus on making small gains each session.
Will and Tom also went from one extreme to the other having spent 3 hours trying to fix their steering system but then, as have so many other crews, were greeted by several large whales approximately 40-50 feet long – yet another breathtaking experience.
Stephen Coe and Richard Hoyland on No Fear have seen a lot of action on their GPS in recent days, having seen the other competing crews of Pendovey Swift, Mission Atlantic and solo racer Peter Van Kets all pop up on their screen. That is an indication that crews are within line of sight (more specifically the aerials of the equipment are in line of sight) of each other.
As has been made clear, the weather will be highly unpredictable over the coming week. A crew’s position will be vital in either continuing good progress with the forecast showing South Westerly winds of 15 knots today towards the front of the fleet. Friday will see the winds revert that of recent days, with speed not likely to be above 10-15 knots, and wind direction will be susceptible to constant change.