White Ocean Racing

Reports 24, 25 November

24 November - Steve crosses the Equator for the first time.

Audio Clip courtesy Trigone/VendeeGlobe

24 November - Steve crosses the Equator.

Steve and Toe in the Water crossed the Equator at approximately 3 AM on 24 November. This was Steve's first crossing and the seventh for Toe in the Water.

25 November - Race Status.

Steve overtook both Unai Basurko (Pakea Bizkaia) and Jérémie Beyou (Delta Dore) and is now 17th out of 26.

25 November - Blog 8 - Equator celebrations and bird watching.

At long last we seem to be getting the same wind as everyone else! I have not seen the GPS go below 11 knots so far this morning, which is a bit more like it. I had parked myself in a narrow (but clearly defined by Maxsea) band of lighter winds that did me no favours after my appallingly unlucky crossing of the Doldrums! Anyway, we're out of it now thank goodness.

I had my little celebration as we crossed the Equator at 0350 or there abouts the other morning - a little late to start drinking really, but after giving a bit to Neptune, and a bit for the boat, there was very little left for me! I had been overly generous with the first two toasts, which was a shame, as I had used the bottle of wine that Norbert had given to each of the competitors on start day, and which was absolutly beautiful! I had a message from my friend Richard who told me that it was almost seventy years to the day the Eric Newby had crossed the Equator in one of the last working square riggers called the Moshulu - you can read about it in "The Last Great Grain Race" - but there they painted Eric and three other first timers with read lead paint from head to toe, shaved two stripes into their hair and painted the scalp green, which amused Richard no end. No namby pamby health and safety at work in those days! Luckily being alone, I had to endure no such humiliation, although I'm sure there are lots of people who would have liked to have had a go!

I have been bimbling away with the Fleet satellite phone and the compression software trying to get some video sent back. I might just finish up sending film back as attachments to an ordinairy e-mail, which will be horribly expensive, but I need to get something sent back, but I don't want to find Kim as had to sell the house to pay the communications bill though! I started out with ten thousand pounds as a communications budget, but that got hoovered up on other things pretty quickly. You see, the intenton was there to be a good person media wise, it just hasn't worked out yet...

On the not very interesting and apparently never ending subject of the second instuments, I think we have found the problem at long last. I am just waiting for some calmer conditions before I test out the theory - no I'm not wishing for calm just yet, I've only just got wind! It can wait, I'm not going anywhere.....

I spent an hour on deck standing at the back of the boat and just watching, getting the occasional dousing in spray from a warm sea, and bathed in very powerful sunshine. I stood there until I was at risk of burning just watching a seabird who was a bit like a racing gannet, very sleek and pointy with a brown back, white and brown underneath and with little orange feet. He was flying about thirty feet up directly to windward of the bow of the boat, with his head looking all about the sea surface just infront of the boat. After a short while it became apparent as to what he was doing; every few minutes, and sometimes more frequently, we would scare up one or sometimes a number (a flock?) of flying fish, whereupon he would do his Peregrine Falcon impression and chase them, inches above the water at high speed. On innumerable occasions he was oh so close that I'm sure he could almost taste them, they would go into torpedo mode, fold up their wings and dissappear beneath the surface. He never got one, but he never gave up either. I can still see him out there now through the window as I write. I'm sure he'll get one in the end.

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