This update was written a couple of hours before Jean Luc van den Heede had a 150 degree knock down and damaged the rigging.
I didn’t send any news during the last few weeks. As we could hear Mark ‘live’ I thought I it was better to let him tell the stories! Thanks to Micha, I could make a telephone call to Mark by using the VHF radio. Micha’s telephone was kept close to the microphone of the VHF on his boat so it could transmit and receive loud and clear. They were sailing in sight of each other.
Mark seems to be in good condition and mood. There are some problems on board but no mayor ones. There is a deformation on the wind vane but with some tricks it will work as good as originally. A leak in the hull to deck joint on the aft side gives some water but thanks to the long keel it goes straight into the bilge and is pumped out through a 12V pump automatically.
Maverick has had several knockdowns but on some other boats it looks as if they have had relative more. A knockdown means that the boat is heeled 90 degree in a combination of a big wave and a lot of wind. As I put Marks boat in the computer for analyses I can give some figures. Marks Rustler is fitted with as less as possible windage and weights within the rules. We even accept a weight penalty for a not fitted ceiling. Some others have a lot of equipment and windage high up. In my experience this can move the centre of gravity easy 20 cm up.
The energy to bring the Ohpen Maverick to 90 degree is 4195 kgm. If I shift the centre of gravity 20 cm up, it is 2750 kgm. A loss of 35%. If then the windage under bare poles is bigger, it is easy to see the difference. My own boat, a more modern 35 ft keel yacht has 6250 kgm, this is 1.5 times more energy than Maverick. Suzannes Nehaj, the first boat in the Longue Route and close to Mark is a 40 ft V-shaped hull of my design. Nehaj has the same mast length as Maverick and needs 8145 kgm for a knockdown. This is 2 times more energy than on Maverick.
The distance between the competitors has changed. Susie has been very unlucky. First she sailed a loop to avoid the biggest part of a storm and in Hobart she was on anchor to shelter for a gale. That must have been hard for her. She was gaining miles on Uku and I expected her to be close to Uku in Hobart. But now the gap is bigger than ever and over 800 miles. But to have a result you must keep the boat undamaged and finish. Istvan and Tapio can shorten the gap with Susie but Susie used the time in Hobart to bring back the boat in top condition so she will run away again.
For Mark it means there are no hunters behind him. That can be a disadvantage. He might feel more relaxed. But it might help as well, as he doesn’t have to push to hold his second position. Jean Luc is losing some miles on Mark. I hope it will be less than 1500 miles when Mark is at Cape Horn. I think that this is the maximum to have a realistic chance to be lined up at the finish. I just sailed the 200 miles solo race and with 140 entrants the difference between the first ten boats was already more than ten per cent. And boat 25 lost 18% on the No 1. It just shows that everything is possible.
Picture by Christophe Favreau
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