Saturday, June 19, 2010

"American Girl" in the Bermuda Race

Former Full Tilt crew Miles Abrams is sailing in the Bermuda Race which began yesterday. I'm getting emails from the skipper about the yacht's progress, and I'll repost them here. Looks like Miles had an exciting first day!
Ahoy Friends of American Girl!

We've had a nearly perfect first seven hours or so, and have settled into our offshore routines. The Port Watch is on duty now, and Starboard is enjoying some well-earned rest after six hours of all hands. Nothing has disappointed so far: the adrenaline rush of a 13-boat class start, perfect afternoon breezes under clear, sunny skies, one of the best boat dinners I've ever had, and a truly spectacular sunset.

Now the hard work begins. As the breezes get lighter and the night gets chilly, bodies get tired, but we all have to stay focused: distance races are won or lost at night.

Thank you all for the support and well-wishes!

For the Captain and Crew
Miles is fine and should be commended for his bravery.

At approx. 0400 June 19 in very light winds we ran afoul of a long line fishing system. These are very long (up to a mile) lines strung between floating buoys. These buoys are not lighted and without a moon it is very dark out here and you cannot see them till you are Right on top of them. Soooo.... we caught our keel on one. After a few minutes of evaluating the system it was decided that it would take a swimmer to untangle us. Miles quickly volunteered, stripped down naked and jumped into the 60 degree water. A few minutes later we were free of the lines and sailing along. With Miles of course.
Thankful for light winds at the time of the incident we lost little time compared to what could have been a race losing scenario.
We will have to continue to sail well to make up for lost time but we are confident that we can do just that.

"Cowboy" Kell Morris
Watch Captain
for Captain and crew of American Girl
Good evening from your ship at sea.....
25 hours into the race and we have already had quite an adventure. We are currently trying to stay in a favorable eddy, which is a part of the gulf stream but not the actuall gulf stream itself. Its quite a challenge consisting of tacking back and forth against the wind and taking sea water temperatures till we find the "sweet spot". We hope to enter the main body of the gulf stream early tomorrow morning for a nice favorable current ride toward Bermuda.

More when we can....

"Cowboy" Kell Morris
watch captain
for captain and crew of American Girl
Friends of American Girl,

There's an adage in the military that "no plan survives contact with the enemy." I was thinking about that at the Nav station today, not coincidentally because we have three military veterans aboard. The principle applies to distance racing as well (though we would never think of the sea and the weather as "enemies"!) Let's just say the forecasts we based our strategies on bear only a passing resemblence to the actual conditions we are seeing now. So we adjust.

We are working our way around a large warm ring or eddy, a 90-mile wide mass of swirling water being thrown off the north wall of the Gulf stream. Seas are rougher here, and we're contending with currents that are tricky to figure out and wind that's coming from a right angle to where it's supposed to be. At intervals, we have to drop a thermometer overboard on a string to see how warm the water is. For all the high-tech instruments we're carrying, this low-tech solution has been the best way to be sure where we are in the eddy.

We're in the middle of the "dog watch," a pair of 2-hour watches (instead of 4 hours) that makes serving dinner easier and keeps each watch from having to stand the same hours each night. Variety of any kind is important on a long race.

Dinner smells excellent again, so I'll sign off for today and grab some chow.

Thanks again for supporting us!

Michael Brown
For the Captain and Crew


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