Lat: 45 40.20′ S
Long: 151 02.72′ E
Inst Speed: 17.4
Wind Dir: 230
Wind Speed: 15.3999
Distance last 24hr: 411.48
Distance to finish: 14700.16
dusk 0909 GMT, speeding along at nearly 20kts
Coming on watch – sometimes easy, some times hard
Heading off watch, always a pleasure

Email from the boat to shore: 

From: OmanTri
To: update
Subject: 3 days ahead of pace
Date: 31/01/2009 03:27:19

15000nm to go, less than 1000 to cook strait

Just been spending some time at the chart table, and once again with our
electronic charting software. We have the 80 day pace boat plotted and now
for sure we are 3 days ahead of schedule. In 3days time the 80 day pace boat
will pass the point where we are now. This is good news, this is important
to us onboard as we are here to set a great new record time for the course
Muscat to Muscat, which others in the future will try to beat. – we want to
set them a stern challenge. We’ve had lovely conditions for sailing – but
they haven’t necesserily been the fastest conditions possible. Certainly the
doldrums could have been kinder – perhaps by 1 whole day, and it’s possible
to imagine perhaps another 24 hour to be gained else where – where we have
been sailing quite deep downwind these last few days. Not to take anything
away from our progress -our three day lead is reward for the constant
round of sail changes, sail trim adjustment, and course alterations that
ensure we are sailing at optimal speed for the condtions we have. In the
last 24 hours we have been through the Gennaker, Genoa to the Solent
headsails, and back through the Genoa, and Gennaker as the wind has
increased and decreased and altered it’s direction, and we have wormed our
way firstly just north of East, and now NE.

In a few hours the wind will be ‘left’ enough ( that is somewhere near SW
( it was N for a while 14hours ago and has been shifting slowly towards the
SW) for us to gybe and sail on Stbd heading roughly in the right direction
for the Cook Strait. We may end up sailing more East in fact and approaching
New Zealand’s south island somewhere 320nm SW of Cape Farewell ( the
northern point of NZ’s south island), which should give us more wind than a
direct route.

We are likely to hit some slower conditions on Monday as we approach NZ and
the pace boat will have it’s chance to catch up, we hope to make some more
ground away from it as we head across the Pacific, and South Atlantic, we
need to – the pace boats progress north towards Muscat after round South
Africa will be relentless, and we’ll once again have to deal with the fickle
winds that circulate the middle of the earth – so what ever our lead will
be after the Southern Ocean part of this trip we can expect it to diminish
on the last 1/4 of the trip.

We have until 00hrs tomorrow to submit our onboard bets as to what time
we’ll be crossing the 1/2 way point of this trip. It’s kinda hard to put an
exact figure on where the real 1/2 way point is as we don’t know exactly how
many miles we’ll have sailed until we finish so we can’t divide that by
two – so we have used the pace boats distance to finish – when that is 1/2
her overall, that’s what we’ll call 1/2 way – so when the pace boat has
10833nm to finish – that’s our 1/2 way point.

For now though we are just concentrating of getting in and out of New
Zealand, and into the Pacific!

Weather Router’s advice: 

From: Commanders’ Weather
To: Musandam
Subject: weather Sat 1-31
Date: 31/01/2009 15:59:39

To: Charles Darbyshire and the crew of

From: Commanders Weather Corp

Event: sail around the world

Last Position: 45 08s/155 17e at 1430utc Sat, Jan 31

Prepared: 1530utc Sat, Jan 31, 2009

SummaryÖGot your email on the ice gates. Are they advising boats stay north
of these positions?

1) High pressure now SW of Tasmania will move eastward and control your
winds for several days.

2) This high will be near:

a) 47s/155e 12 utc Sun

b) 42s/165e 12 utc Mon

c) 40s/166e 12 utc Tue

d) Near Christchurch 12 utc Wed

e) nr 43s/Dateline 12 utc Thu.

3) You are in moderate SW wind now which will back to S and diminish next 24

4) But you have done well with boat speed to the E so will stay in decent
sailing breeze now until about

6-12 utc Mon.

a) At that time you will be approaching 170e

5) Expect your winds to diminish to < 10 kts possibly < 5 for a time off the
NW coast of South Island.

a) Direction becomes a little shifty

b) Probably clocks to SW-W 12 utc Mon to 00 utc Tue

6) Once you round the corner though and head toward the Cook Straits look
for your winds to clock to

W-NW and freshen to 15-20+_ kts in the Cook Straits.

7) Once E of the Cook Straits your wind should back into the S-SE and begin
to build

to 20+ kt range as you get further E midweek.

8) Satellite pictures still showing a lot of cloudiness around and can not
rule out a squally shower

next 24 hours but then more settled conditions with sunshine and
somewhat warmer conditions

as you near South Island.

RoutingÖ Fast as possible ENE to stay in best wind next 36+ hours.

Likely will want to come up from the SSW toward the NW
corner of South Island to take

advantage of some onshore thermal influence midday and pm

Also a wide turn around Cape Farwell to avoid possible
wind hole to the ESE IN Golden and

Tasman Bay.

Estimated positions below.

Wind directions are TRUE, wind speed in kts, and time is UTC

Sat, Jan 31

18: 240-220/18-25

WeatherÖConsiderable cloudiness with scattered squally showers possible with
brief higher wind gusts

SeasÖ 5-8 ft

Sun, Feb 1 ñ Winds stronger to the E and lighter to the W

00: 210-190/17-22

06: 190-210/17-22

12: 180-200/15-20, nr 43 30s/162e

18: 170-190/12-17 trying to stay ahead of the high

WeatherÖCloudy to partly cloudy

Seas 5-8 ft

Mon, Feb 2

00: 160-180/ 15-20
06: 180-200/ 12-17

12: 220-240 5-10 nr 42s/169e

18: 240-260/ 4-8

WeatherÖPartly cloudy.

Diminishing SW swell

Tues, Feb 3

00: 250-270/ 5-10

06: 270-300/12-17

12: 300-320/15-22, Cook Straits

18: 270-240/ 10-15

WeatherÖ.Fair to partly cloudy

Seas 3-5 ft

Wed, Feb 4

00: 140-160/ 15-20

06: 200-180/ 15-20

12: 170-190/ 15-20 nr 42s/ 178w

18: 170-190/ 15-20

WeatherÖPartly cloudy

Seas 3-6 ft

Thu, Feb 5

00: 140-160/ 17-22

12: 140-160/ 18-25 nr 42s/ 170w

WeatherÖVariable cloudiness

Seas S swell increase to 6-10 ft

Best regards, Tom Mattus

Commanders Weather Corp.
Tel: 603-882-6789

A selection of pictures from today: