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Mon 6/2/06 - Race update from Richard

To all of you out there.
First of all, thanks to everyone for the messages that were sent to me before, during and after the race. During the race Helen forwarded all the messages to my Iridium phone and believe me they really helped. In fact I was surprised how much they helped so again, thanks to all of you.

The race was tough for all of the obvious reasons, however the worse times were during the very light winds and in the blistering heat. It was often between 85 and 90 degrees at 4.00am, so you can imagine what it was like at midday. I could not stay on deck during the hottest part of the day so lay below sweating and let the boat sail herself.

The finish was amazing with three boats coming out to escort me in. There were fireworks on the quayside, a large crowd cheering and large quantities of alcohol were thrust at me. I didn´t complain!

Since the finish I have been resting and partying and am fairly OK now. No major damage apart from some sore areas and I guess I lost about 8 kilos. They will soon be back on!

Helen, her Dad and I will know spend a couple of weeks in Brazil touring around so hopefully I will be fully refreshed when I return to the UK.

It´s been quite a ride and strange that the project is now over after four years.

Biggest thanks of course go to Helen without whom nothing would have happened.
She has one question of course. WHAT NEXT???????????

So bye for now, see you all soon.

Again. Thanks to everyone for your support.

new photos of Richard's arrival have been added to the photo album here and a small video of his arrival here (10MB)

Frid  3/2/06
Dear Race Followers, 
Results of the Mini Transats:
Crean finished at 19:44:53 on 31st Jan and Federico at 11:09:48 on 1st February. Federico's skipper Rodrigo Cella was extremely tired however his Father arrived in Bahia yesterday morning and the two of them will sail the boat down to Buenos Aeres, leaving on Sunday!

A few new photos of Richard's arrival have been added to the photo album here
One last boat to arrive in Bahia!
Dream continues to baffle us with her lack of speed - this morning she is still 155 miles off at 12 38S and 35 54W, having only done 110 miles in the 24 hours to 07.00 this morning, at an average of 4.6 knots. So, we are only expecting her in this afternoon at 16.41 UTC

Wed 1/2/06               

After a double steak and a good night´s rest, Richard is on good form. (much better than expected actually - although there are certain bits that have suffered). It was a fantastic finish yesterday, a good crowd out watching and cheering, fireworks and a local very attractive Bahian girl to present him with a platter of fruit and the local drink - his comment ´oh, are you for me´. Everyone very emotional.

A bit of a hiccup came when, having been out on the 52ft Thunderchild to meet him and done a couple of sail pasts out in the bay for photos we rushed back to the harbour, so Dad and I could be on the key to welcome Richard. Then Thunderchild had engine problems and we couldn´t get back in, so a launch had to be sent out to us and we were transferred James Bond style back (me onto Crean!). Meanwhile Richard had crossed the finish line but had to wait around outside the harbour until we arrived -I kept thinking he will say - she is always late!

Rodrigo on ´Federico´ came in this morning to a similar welcome - his comment ´I am finished with minis!´ Mentally he is not in as good a state as Richard, because he could only sleep curled up as there is nowhere on his boat to stretch out, this has obviously taken its toll, but he is now in good spirits.

Richard is overwhelmed by all the messages of congratulation and thanks everyone very much - he wouldn´t have got through without all your support. Big party when we get back....

Tues 31/1/06 14:30 Day 28               

Message from Helen at 22:00: "After 27 days 6 hrs, 44 mins and 43 secs he has arrived safe and well"

We had a message from Helen at 13:30 saying
" Richard´s just rung, 32 miles left to go - 10:38 Brazil time (-3hrs). Latest ETA 8:30pm (Brazil time)."

At 14:30 we received a text from Richard, just one word "LAND". After four weeks he is now in site of land, just 20 miles from Bahia.

Helen also said in her message "We´re going out on Atlantic Thunderchild to meet him (don't worry, she has been repaired -I think)

Hopefully some pictures will follow later today.

Mon 30/1/06 09:00 Day 27                Pos 12 43.0S 35.32.0W

There are just three boats left to finish now, Crean and Federico are both due in tomorrow and Dream is due in on the 3rd Feb. Richard has just 175 miles to go to reach the finish line now.

Update 19:30

Very nearly here at last.   Heard from him this morning, and things have changed completely again.  Hit by serveral squalls during night and today, has not had sleep for 2 days and is struggling.  He is hoarse from shouting (at the boat the weather and everything). 
Still not long to go now..... 150 miles at 9:30am (Brazil time -3hrs).

The champagne is on ice and everyone on tenterhooks -

Sun 29/1/06 07:40 Day 26                Pos 13 33.0S 33.31.0W

Having broken his main halyard, Richard has been forced to sail without his spinnaker. The wind died for a while and he only covered 20 miles during the day. However since then wind has picked up, and he has managed to cover 97 miles and now is expected in on Tuesday.

Sat 28/1/06 09:30 Day 25                Pos 12 52.0S 32W

Helen received this message from Richard at 08:20 this morning:
"Broken main halyard so reefed, no big spin, so slow, me ok"

This came in from Richard this morning- must be very disappointing for him (and us) at this last stage.  We were hoping for first thing Monday morning, but looks like he might be a bit later now.  Having flown across the Atlantic for 8 hours and seen nothing but sea, I am realising exactly what a feat it is - scary.   Feel like the French Lieutenant´s Woman, just looking out to sea and waiting.  

It´s very hot, colourful, but friendly here.  We´re having fun, seen a few of the other boats come in - all quite exciting.

There are just seven boats left to finish now, and Richard has 381 miles to go.

Fri 27/1/06 09:00 Day 24                 Pos 14 7.7S 30 8.0W

Richard has just 494 miles to go as of this morning and at his current rate of 160 miles  per day, should come in some time on Monday. Helen has jetted off to Brazil to meet him and has told him to come in during the day, to make sure she can take some photos.

Tues 24/1/06 20:50 Day 21
                Pos 14 17.7S 24 26.7W

3 weeks at sea, alone, but still sounds sane.  The boat now smells like a very sweaty gym - nice.  Still getting hotter.  I asked if he had a beard, he replied he had and had hoped to look like Sean Connery, but unfortunately looks more like Uncle Albert - oh well. Power (or lack of) his is main concern, as he is not able to manually steer for long periods due to the heat.  Various bits of the boat have broken due to wear and tear, but nothing major to date.  Caramel toffees are the treat for the day!

Mon 23/1/06 20:45 Day 20                 Pos 15 52.8S 22.09W

Another good day averaging 150 miles per day.  Passed the '1000 mile to go mark' so celebrated with, guess what, his second and last tin of fruit cocktail and evap milk (SA evap runnier than ours though), he certainly knows how to live and he had been looking forward to it for 3 days!  This was a big milestone for him as he feels he is now on the home straight.  Needed to shelter from the heat, so had to use generator again today.  Can tell from his bunk if the movement of the boat changes even whilst asleep, and can now drop the spinnaker in 3 seconds.  Lots of shooting stars (at night), otherwise still only sea to see.

Sun 22/1/06 19:30 Day 19                  Pos 16 36S 19 50W

Still unable to sail a direct course to Salvador, but making good progress.  Did some washing today (he must be bored!), but lost a spinnaker sheet over the side, which was very annoying.  1105 miles to go and still very very hot.

Sat 21/1/06 22:15 Day 18                  Pos 16 05S 17 12.4W

Good day - 'whizzing along' under spinnaker all day.  It is noticeably staying lighter later now as he progresses west.  Started 2 hrs ahead GMT in Cape Town, now nearly 2 hours behind.  Salvador 4 hours behind.  Had a good sleep so feeling better.

Fri 20/1/06 18:30 Day 17                   Pos 17 09S 15 22W

Middling day today -unable to sail on direct heading, so having to tack,very tiring.  Mentally still ok, but physically exhausted.  I am forwarding all messages with good wishes etc on and they are being gratefully received and much appreciated.  Keep them coming, they are helping him through. (and me!).

Thurs 19/1/06 18:15 Day 16              Pos 18 20.5S 13.47W

Had a night and day of rain squalls, so very tiring, constantly reefing/un-reefing and sail changing - fatigue is beginning to take its toll and his sores are sore!  It did go a little way to washing some of the salt off the salt-encrusted ropes though (and possibly off Richard?) Cloudy conditions means solar power is low again, generator used for 3 hours today.   It's still a long way to Brazil.

Richard and Rodgrigo (skipper of the other mini-transat boat, Federico)

Wed 18/1/06 18:15 Day 15                Pos 18 51.4S 11.25W

Two weeks at sea now and over half way - 1898 miles since Cape Town another 1523 miles  to Salvador.  .  A good day today although the sea is quite different 'lumpy, just like the English channel', only difference is colour, as you can see - (someone swimming off Atlantic Thunderchild whilst becalmed).  Making 6-7 kts.  Had a visitor - a large solitary dolphin did a vertical leap out of the water about 10ft in front of the bow and then was never seen again! 

Tues 17/1/06 20:00 Day 14               Pos 18 51.6S 8 49W

What a difference a day makes!  Been flying along at 10-12 kts on a direct heading for Salvador and did 100 miles in 12 hours - certainly a personal record.  Flying fish are now in shoals of 200, look like a flock of birds taking off - spectacular.  Has had a good sleep, but also found that when the boat is heeled at the right angle he can see the Windex through the hatch, and can change direction from his bunk using the autopilot remote control.  

Mon 16/1/06 18:30 Day 13                Pos 20 10S 4 31W

Day 13 - unlucky for some? - actually for most of the boats it would seem.  No wind again, quite despondent.  Would be idyllic if not racing, but frustrating knowing the boat could be surfing at up to 18kts in the right conditions.  Very tired and still 1900 miles to go. 

- Since this update, the wind gods are smiling again and a message 'flying all night' came through.

Sun 15/1/06 22:30 Day 12                Pos 20 10S 4 31W

Not a good day, frustratingly only been making 1 kt, although it has picked up in the last 2 hrs.   Might have to start thinking about limiting the rations  if things don't pick up in the next day or two.  Won't be able to eat a whole packet of biscuits in one go! Very very hot.  Still enjoying the whole experience but just wants to go a bit (or a lot faster).  More wind needed.

p.s ignore the position on the Heineken site today, they have got their E & W muddled!

Sat 14/1/06 18:45 Day 11                 Pos 21.15S 2.54W

Went west today another good day's progress.  Had to let auto-pilot do most of the work as too hot to stay on deck for long periods.  Nothing to see except the sea.

Congratulations to Adrenalina Pura for reaching Salvador in record time.

Fri 13/1/06 18:30 Day 10                  Pos 21 59S 0 49W

Finally across the Greenwich Meridian- hooray.  Headed north again today and made good progress - 6 kts.  Sea incredibly blue and clear with yellowtails (fish) to be seen. 

Thurs 12/1/06 20:30 Day 9               Pos 23 16.8S 0.02.3E

90 in the shade (except there is no shade). Still struggling for wind, heading north today toward St Helena, to try and find a stronger breeze.  Calm allowed him to have a proper wash including his hair though.  Saw a ship!   Sea completely filled with jellyfish today.  Wished he stayed on a more Northerly course as originally intended, but hey ho.  Should finally cross the Greenwich Meridian tonight.

Wed 11/1/06 18:45 Day 8                 Pos 25 35.7S 0.56.9E

Having had a good day yesterday averaging 10/11 knots  the wind has dropped right off today (as it seems to have for most boats).  Spent 7 hrs creeping out of it by going North, and even North East for a bit, but is now underway again.  Celebrated being out there for 1 week by having fruit cocktail and evaporated milk!    Lots of baby powder and Sudocrem being used for the sore bits, which are now emerging.   Grateful for extra piece of foam that was packed at the last minute!  Generally in good spirits though. Have asked them to be more accurate on Heineken website as Crean has disappeared from the Yacht Tracker completely now!  Night sky spectacular, Orion dominant (although upside down) and also Southern Cross.  Stars so bright they can actually cast a shadow of his hand on deck.

Tues 10/1/06 17:30 Day 7                 Pos 25 34S 2 39.7E

Another good day, covered approx 150 miles.  Large spinnaker up.   His position on Heineken website is 2 days old, so Richard is not so far behind as it looks.  (For some reason he hasn't updated them). Also the other mini-transat boat has only given one position so far during the race, so cannot tell where he really is. (He is Argentinian and doesn't speak English so communication is a problem). 

Mon 9/1/06 - 18:45 Day 6                  Pos 27 20S 5 19.8E

Good day - spinnaker up.  Headed west all day. Beginning to get into a routine.  Eating, sleeping, listening to music and sailing of course.  More flying fish, and lots of very blue sea.  Repairs carried out to mainsail due to constant chaffing.

Sun 8/1/06 - Day 5                             Pos 27 21.3S 9 02.5E

 Currently maintaining 7 kts, 605 miles covered. Flying along. Hit by first squall yesterday but ok. Reaching more settled conditions, he put the gennaker up, but unfortunately the bowsprit broke, after 3 hrs he managed to saw part of it off and bind it up and is now happy that it is probably stronger than originally. Due to cloudy conditions he had to use the generator for 2 hours, but the sun is now back out and the solar panel working to maximum again. Wishes he had more variety of food as already bored with the limited choice and his socks are beginning to smell. All part of the joys of living within a 6.5 metre boat!

Sat 7/1/06 - 8:45am                           Pos 28 38S 11 51E

Exhilarating day yesterday, flying fish landed in boat.  Flying along, "Never seen seas so big!", but cold night, thermals needed.  Air pressure going up and conditions beginning to change as he approaches the trade winds.  Things should then calm down a bit and he will settle into a routine.

Friday 6/1/06                                     Pos 29 31S 13 22E

Some more photos at the start, kindly sent by Eva Versfeld, who with her husband Alan has so generously looked after Richard whilst he has been in SA.  http://www.richardsmurthwaite.co.uk/smurfgallery.htm

Thursday 5/1/06 – 6:30pm                 Pos 31 22S 15 36E

Covered over 200 miles since the start. Averaging 7+ knots over the ground. ‘Going like a train!’ Accompanied by albatross and flying fish today. Has managed to take some naps.

More photos of the start..

Wednesday 4 January 2006

This is it! After 3 years of preparation Richard and Crean are ready for the challenge of a lifetime.

Today is the start of the
Heineken Cape to Bahia 2006’ Transatlantic Race.


10:30   Blessing of the Fleet at the Royal Cape Yacht Club
11:00   Yachts commence departure from RCYC
13:00   Official Race Start


Press Release - "The 30+ yachts got off to a flying start in Table Bay in perfect sailing conditions with a strong southeasterly of approximately 25 knots and flat seas.  The fleet set sail at 15h00 (SA time) 1300GMT and the top contenders quickly made their serious intentions known......"

Richard at the start:

As can be seen from the heavy reefing and storm jib, the start was quite windy.   He reported that his aim was to cross the start line without damage, so he kept clear of the bigger boats.  'It was all a bit hairy' was the comment.  He is now underway....